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Mobile & Digital

Freebies do not sway tech bloggers’ reviews

New research reveals that bloggers who accept compensation for reviews actually feel empowered, not indebted, to those companies pitching products at them.

Associate professor of public relations at Penn State university, Marcia DiStaso, wanted to find out how accepting compensation, or products, from companies impacted ‘control mutuality’ (where both groups feel they are winning from the relationship) among companies and bloggers.

There is a notion that, if someone is paying, even with the offer of free products, for a review, that the blogger may be more likely to write more positively about that product. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

“What we found is that we don’t have an off-balance relationship, in fact, we actually found that the bloggers who accepted compensation tended to believe they have more control over the organization that provided the compensation,” said DiStaso.

DiStaso’s survey of 173 technology bloggers (as identified by Technorati) found that bloggers know that writing positive reviews for bad products would harm their credibility. Furthermore, ethical public relations professionals would never enter into a good-review-for-compensation type of agreement.

“Asking for a positive review for compensation would kill a relationship with a blogger,” said DiStaso. “No one benefits when a relationship is entered into with the expectations of a positive review.”

The survey also found that, despite the introduction of new guidelines by the FTC in 2009 requiring blogs and other social media outlets to disclose compensation received for reviews and endorsement, just 11% of the bloggers surveyed reported having made any changes to conform.

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