Bloggers Gone Wild

I received a request from a blogger for product for her son’s 7-8-year-old baseball team league tournament (see below).  Is it ethical for this blogger to be asking for product in return for advertising on her site?  Is this a good marketing opportunity?

“What I am wondering about is if you think that there is anything that you or a company that you represent might be able to offer some sort of sponsorship for the kids in our tournament.  Specifically, but definitely not limited to, I would like to be able to offer some kind of token to each team and preferably each player regardless of a first place finish or a last place finish.  Actually, those that finish in the top will receive team trophy’s, however, as I’m sure you realize, at the ages of seven and eight, the kids like to have something tangible themselves.

“As with any requests that I make for help, you will have full reign to guide me in advertising for you.  I have 6 blogs with a PR 3 and 5 with a PR 2.  You can have 3 months worth of ad space on every blog, or just the ones you are interested in. I will write blog posts directing traffic to you and I can use Twitter, Facebook and Whrrl as well to promote your company.  If you can help me, I will do what you need me to do to make this work.”


By Jennifer Manocchio

We are seeing more and more requests similar to the one you received.

Just this week we received a blogger product request for a client that manufacturers outdoor wood sealer.  We had already provided this blogger with product to reseal his deck, and now he is asking for more product to do his stairs and porch.  At $80 a gallon, this isn’t a cheap investment.

Unlike media, there is no code of ethics for bloggers when it comes to asking for product samples.  And there is certainly no separation of editorial and advertising content when it comes to blogs.

The only government mandated requirement from the FTC is that bloggers clearly let their readers know they received a product sample for free when writing a post about that specific product.  We see some bloggers doing this and others who either don’t know about the FTC ruling or don’t care.

In the case of this specific request, if you have a product that directly targets 7-8-year-old boys and/or their parents, you have reviewed her blogs and feel the content is relevant for your brand, double checked the page rank to ensure the information she is giving is accurate, checked her authority on Technorati, and visited Compete or Quantcast to determine traffic, and the results are favorable, this could be a good way to gain some exposure.

But I warn you to proceed with caution and ensure this blogger is following the FTC guidelines. See our post “The Impact FTC Guidelines Have on Blogger Relations”.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.