Here at Reevoo, genuine and useful customer content is our thing. If someone has used the product or service and can share their experience with it, that information is gold dust to us, as well as—and most importantly—to anyone thinking of buying the product.

But the line between solicited and unsolicited reviews is blurred. When brands ask people to review their product, is that likely to compromise the authenticity of the review? Are people more likely to be nice if they’re being given a freebie?

When brands ask people to review their product, is that likely to compromise the authenticity of the review? - Highlight to share -

That question becomes more and more vital given the popularity of vloggers – people who make a living from using a product online in their YouTube videos. Make-up guru (and the girl who didn’t write her own autobiography) Zoella has amassed over 8 million subscribers, Swedish gamer PewDiePie has more than 50 million weekly views and the eight-year-old star of EvanTubeHD (named Evan) earns about $3 million a year with his YouTube channel reviewing toys and video games.

That’s not surprising: people want to hear opinions from people they can relate to, and that’s obviously more likely to be normal people using the product rather than the beauty editor of Vogue. A 13-year-old girl wants to hear from Zoella rather than Anna Wintour. They also want to see rather than read: making video a great medium for how-to guides.

People want to hear opinions from people they can relate to. - Highlight to share -

We’ve talked before on the blog about bloggers and vloggers becoming increasingly professional, and discussed whether the same rules should apply to them as advertisers. It seems that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has finally reached a decision on this.

Last year, a campaign for Oreos was banned as it did not make clear that the featured YouTube stars had been paid to chomp on the biscuits. The ASA ruled that the message “Thanks to Oreo for making this video possible”, whether in the video or in the text descriptions, was “insufficient to make clear the marketing nature of the videos”.

Last week, the Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap) issued its first set of vlogger guidelines. It said:

“a key rule under the Cap code is that if the content is controlled by the marketer, not the vlogger, and is written in exchange for payment (which could be a monetary payment or free items) then it is an advertisement feature and must be labelled as such.”

But vloggers do not need to follow this code if they receive free products without accepting editorial control from the brands. Here is more information on Cap’s ruling.

It’s clear that as vloggers move more into the professional arena, and cement relationships with brands, there will be more thirst for reviews that potential consumers perceive as less biased. User-generated content—that is clearly and honestly labelled as such—will become increasingly valuable. Consumers want to know what information and guidance has been paid for by brands and what has not. They want to know if reviews have been shaped by brands or if they are genuinely from other consumers like them. That’s why keeping the line sharp and clear between content sponsored by brands and content produced by consumers is so important.

User-generated content—that is clearly and honestly labelled as such—will become increasingly valuable. - Highlight to share -

We try and do this with the Reevoo stamp… We all know that no one likes blurred lines.

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Finally! The advertising standards authority clamps down on vloggers