In the post-FTC ruling that bloggers must disclose freebies, Ann Taylor Loft is one of the first corporations to face backlash for an incentive program.
As reported by a number of online media outlets, an invite to preview the brand's summer collection included a gift-card drawing in exchange for coverage.
"Please note all bloggers must post coverage from our event to their blog within 24 hours in order to be eligible. Links to post must be sent to [address], along with the code on the back of your gift card distributed to you at the event. You will be notified of your gift card amount by February 2. Gift card amounts will vary from $10 to $500."
It appears that the Web is doing what it does best in a self-moderating capacity by pointing out those bloggers who did not disclose the compensation they received for posting reviews of the new collection. Jezebel is one outlet reporting that coverage has been overwhelmingly positive and almost none of the bloggers disclosed the incentive program.
The post also includes a response by Ann Taylor Loft president, Gary Muto.
"We don't incentivize the press," protests Loft's president, Gary Muto. "We would never do that."
"They could write whatever they want. Obviously, there's freedom of speech."
It's well-known that this kind of incentive program runs rampant, especially in fashion and beauty. Will the FTC speak out on this instance or will Internet's reprimand be enough?