Over on SideDish, Nancy started a good conversation about how some bloggers operate with a sense of entitlement and skirt FTC rules about divulging freebies. The conversation started with a post about a “food writer” who schemed her way into a free multi-course wine dinner. Then, yesterday, Nancy let us know that something rather remarkable had happened. In response to Nancy’s post, a local company called Strauss Marketing sent out an email to bloggers it works with, asking them for data. The note read, in part:
In light of recent events and blogs, notably on D SideDish at the end of last week, we are taking a step back and looking at how PR professionals and bloggers can better work together taking into account FTC guidelines. Several of our clients read the blog and comments, and have asked us to find a way to better evaluate their business decisions on offering complimentaryÂ products/dinners/experiences. As a service to them we are asking that you please submit your most recent numbers on readership so that we may keep that on file.
Strauss Marketing is to be commended. There are a lot of folks out there writing about food because they are passionate about it and have something to say. If they garner an audience and communicate with it in an ethical manner, then they deserve a seat at the table. Their contributions make for a more informed dining public, while at the same time providing an efficient marketing channel for companies that know how to use it. But there are also a lot of charlatans out there who are only interested in a free meal and an ego stroke. These people deserve only to be kept on file.