Monday, May 23, 2011

Blogging and Product Placement

By: Alex Stuckey

Blogging is a form of media that allows writers to be a little less objective than normal. However, I do not think that bloggers’ reporting of the facts, however slanted they are, should be influenced by product placement. The article from The Wall Street Journal discussed how many bloggers are turning to product placement as a way to fund their blogging and generate revenue.

The most common product placement method on blogs are background placement and text placement, such as the blogger sharing their own experiences, according to a study conducted in Taiwan.

Although I do understand that bloggers need to advertise on their blog as a way to generate revenue, they shouldn’t be paid to promote products because people that visit the site are unaware of the fact that product placement is taking place.

This has become such a problem as of late that the Federal Trade Commission is examining whether to police bloggers because of the false advertisement aspect of this equation. If it decided that the commission will police bloggers, they will have to discontinue their deceptive practice if caught.

While there are many bloggers who are participating in this practice, others are concerned about their reputations and are urging fellow bloggers to be more upfront about product placement.

Some may say that this should not be a huge problem because blogs aren’t supposed to be objective. However, being paid for product placement could definitely tailor a person perspective on something, which means it wouldn’t be true.

Personally, I think product placement in the news media is a horrible idea and not something that should be practiced. In order to maintain as much objectivity as possible, product placement should be greatly limited. And if it does happen, readers and/or viewers should be informed of it upfront so as not to be misled. I do think the FTC should regulate it so everyone can remain as objective as possible and people can be as informed as possible.

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