Five years ago, blogger swag was something that we all knew existed but never really discussed publicly. Then, the Federal Trade Commission got involved, and suddenly every online outlet—no matter how big or small—was required to make a full disclosure every time they wrote about something that was given to them as a gift. (Or, as payment in the form of coverage.)
For a while, it was fun to call out bloggers who were obviously (or not so obviously) shilling for brands without following the FTC rules. But soon enough, the community got comfortable disclosing these brand alliances, even showing them off.
In 2013, brand partnerships can make or break a blogger’s success. In a “you’ve got to fake to make it” fashion, many newer, up-and-coming bloggers are allegedly claiming items they’ve bought were gifts from brands. Apparently, this act is far more common than imagined.