I have a new post up at Global Comment
Blogs allow those who have traditionally had no voice and very little social power to be heard. In this atmosphere, “mommy blogs” have become big business. Dooce is the most popular personal blog and garners its owner forty thousand dollars a month in advertising. Meanwhile, rather than get direct profit through advertising, some mommy bloggers write product reviews in exchange for free samples of merchandise. Jessica Ramirez recently wrote an article for Newsweek, questioning whether this practice affected the credibility of these women.
Unlike traditional media, bloggers are only held accountable by their readership and their personal morals. There are no professional guidelines that they must follow, and anyone can take on the title of professional blogger. As the medium of internet publishing grows, advertisers and corporations are recognizing that this is an optimal way to get their product to a targeted market without a large outlay of cash.
The question that readers must ask themselves is this: if these bloggers are getting kickbacks for writing these reviews, can they really be trusted to relay factual information about the products in question? Keep in mind that we are subject to advertising continually. Commercials regularly use celebrity spokespeople to promote a product and we do not question their integrity, even though these celebrities are being paid for advertising said products.
Blogging is a very new form of communication. Purists don’t believe that any profit should be made from the endeavour whatsoever. Yet when one considers the time and effort that it takes to write and edit a successful blog, the idea that a blogger should forgo remuneration is ridiculous. We have a tendency to focus on the larger blogs in which people are earning a living, but many writers work in obscurity for what amounts to far less than minimum wage
Women already earn seventy-five cents for every dollar that a man makes. Even when men and women share the same profession over the period of a lifetime, men on average will still earn more money. The current recession has been referred to as a “mancession” as the jobs that are being lost are largely in manufacturing, construction and technology – areas traditionally dominated by males. This has caused a large strain on families where women suddenly find themselves to be the sole breadwinners.