/ Wooing the Bloggerazi: The Ann Taylor LOFT Event

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission came down mightly on bloggers (large and small, established and fledgling), saying that they needed to disclose any freebie they received when it pertained to a blog post. It was particularly vocal when it came down to sponsored posts, citing previous incidents of several bloggers who receive pay for play but don’t disclose it to their audience.

Which brings me to a recent communications event hosted by Ann Taylor LOFT for bloggers, where the stores’ new Spring Collection was unveiled to those who wanted to go and see the “first look” of the season. The idea was for the bloggers to preview the new Spring collection, post about it and then happily pocket a gift card from the store.

Sounds like a great plan, right?

Not so fast. The fine print on the blogger invite said that the bloggers needed to post their reviews within 24 hours in order to be eligible and that Ann Taylor LOFT would decide on how much the gift card value would be — from $10 to $500.

Hold on a minute –doesn’t that sound a wee bit like greasing the palm? That’s exactly what the FTC is trying to prevent from happening and by the looks of it, it seems like payment after the post, and in an amount determined by the company too.

As blogger traction continues to increase, it’s no surprise that some high traffic blogs are getting a lot of perks from companies (including monetary compensation and tons of freebies) and the FTC is trying to make sense of it all stop the “hoarder” mentality that some bloggers tend to have. The FTC may well be unconcerned with a gift card (some bloggers have received computers and bigger luxuries, like cars), but it certainly gives branding and communication agencies food for thought as to how to word their interaction with the bloggerazi.

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