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The Roundup May 7

And which rear end do you expect us to pull out that seventy-five billion dollars?

US regulators on Thursday ordered 10 of the nation’s largest banks to add a total of $74.6bn in equity following the completion of stress tests, triggering a frenzy of activity as banks lined up to announce capital-raising plans. . . .

The long-awaited publication of the test results, which came after days of tense discussions between regulators and the banks, prompted a flurry of activity among lenders with Bank of America, which was found to have the biggest capital shortfall at $33.9bn, announcing plans to raise $17bn in equity.

(“Stress tests show $75bn buffer needed,” Financial Times, May 7) Oh, selling stuff on eBay. You know, extra ballpoint pens, laptops we’re not using, paper clips, old magazines. Looking for change under the vending machines. Plug up those billion dollar holes in no time. Now, I’ve said it a dozen times already here on this blog, every time Ken Lewis opens his mouth and claims that BofA is healthy as a pig in swill, that means they’re in deep doo-doo. Oh, and don’t expect those bonuses to slow down anytime soon.


It seems the only blog you can trust nowadays is this one.

It’s become the standard model for successful parenting blogs: Women review products on their Web sites, sometimes mentioning that they’ve received the items for free. But products also pop up conversationally, amid anecdotes about family life.

“I try to be very natural with my reviews and when I talk about companies and products,” Young says. “I don’t want it to look like one big commercial.”

Readers flock to these blogs for real opinions from real moms whose lives appear to resemble their own. Marie Hulquest, a mother of two who lives near Boulder, Colo., and Stephanie Joynes, a mother of one in suburban Washington, D.C., say they’ve bought products specifically because they were recommended by mom bloggers. . . .

The Federal Trade Commission has begun reviewing its advertising guidelines with mom bloggers in mind. “Those who are compensated to promote or review a product” on their personal Web sites “are not exempt from the laws governing truthful advertising,” said Richard Cleland, the FTC’s assistant director of advertising practices, in a recent statement.

Traditional journalists are expected to refuse freebies to avoid any conflict of interest. Magazines and large parenting Web sites do receive product samples for review. But for an individual woman writing a blog from home, a free shipment of diapers represents a huge savings in her monthly budget. It’s hard not to get excited about that.

(“Are Mommy bloggers just shilling for products? Use of freebies raises questions,” Associated Press, May 7) I’ll put it plain and simple. Companies target bloggers, podcasters, and other “influencers” by sending them free products (I’ve had three dozen offers for this humble little blog and have refused all of them); it’s part of any decent major marketing strategy. They expect — and they receive — good reviews for their freebies. I mean, who would be so ungrateful as to give a negative review of a free product? In every single case, if the blogger does not reveal in ful the “arrangement” with the company, the blogger in question is lying and betraying a trust. Even if the review is honestly positive. It’s still a lie. The FTC rules should be simple. If a company gives a free product to a blogger or podcaster, then the blogger or podcaster must reveal a.) that the product was given in exchange for a review or mention on the blog and b.) who approached who (did the company approach the blogger or the blogger approach the company first). Each and every member of a blog or podcast audience is a privilege and an honor. They understand that mainstream media is fictional and they come to you because they expect you to be real with them. You never, ever betray that trust.

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  1. [...] blogs for claims, payments,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 21) We discussed this issue in a previous post. It’s worth repeating that, if you’re a blogger, every single member of your audience [...]


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