Mommy Blogs Becoming Money Makers

But for some blog readers the practice can feel deceptive. Christine Schirmer is a frequent reader of mommy blogs. She was relying on their advice while deciding which baby carrier she should buy for her newborn.

"There was a particular carrier that one blogger recommended as being the best one," Schirmer says. "And lo and behold I recently found out that she had a paid relationship with that company and suddenly that makes a whole lot of sense."

The mommy blogging world is mixed on whether accepting payment "per post" is a good idea. One of the pioneers of mommy blogging, Heather Armstrong, who writes the blog dooce.com, has banner ads from companies on her Web site but refuses to take products or money in exchange for content.

"I have a special relationship with my readers. I had a very bad bout of postpartum depression about five years ago, and I credit them with saving my life. My relationship and my blog is based on whether or not they can trust me. And so doing that sort of thing, I think, sort of threatens that relationship," Armstrong said in a live interview with "Good Morning America Weekend."

Lack of Disclosure Could 'Threaten Medium'

Responsible bloggers such as Colleen Padilla are careful to disclose who is paying them and whether they received products for free or bought them. Padilla even consulted a lawyer recently, who advised her to beef up her disclosure language on the site. But she says there are no rules.

"I think we're writing them as we go along. But I think a really important rule for bloggers is that you need to disclose. If there is a relationship with a company, if you're paid, you need to disclose that," Padilla says.

But the truth is, no one is requiring Padilla to post such disclosures.

"There are no rules about what a mommy blogger or even a mainstream publication can do. There are no laws, you're not breaking the law if you accept a free PlayStation and say you love that PlayStation," Abell says.

But the rules may be changing. The Federal Trade Commission is considering expanding false advertising guidelines to include blog testimonials. New guidelines could be approved later this summer.

Padilla and others worry that it will turn a casual hobby for many moms into a dangerous activity.

"That's alarming, for something that you're doing for fun or for a mom who's getting a free box of cereal or free yogurt, that they could be liable. That could put a halt to some of the conversation that's happening," Padilla says.

But Armstrong said she would welcome regulation.

"I think that there should be full disclosure because it sort of threatens the medium. I think mommy blogging is built on the relationship between the mommy blogger and the audience because we're sort of sharing our stories, and we're starting to trust each other. And if you don't disclose that you're being paid or accepting gifts, it sort of threatens that relationship," she said.

For her part, Christine Schirmer has started turning to friends and family for free advice instead of the blogs.

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