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April Whitlock received emails from bloggers requesting cash payments for product reviews. She was not sure about the bloggers’ quality and professionalism but found the deal to be very cheap compared to professional journalists and advertisement companies.
Whereas she did not find a reason to pay for reviews, she recognized a longstanding relationship with other bloggers that could have been affected in the process. Various ethical principles offered different solutions to her problem. However, she is supposed to reject the offer to protect the company from unforeseen risks.
Key Words: Carolina Pad, bloggers, product reviews
April Whitlock’s Dilemma
The director of brand management received product review requests from bloggers for cash payments. Although the requests did not exceed $ 1,000, the bloggers promised to offer reviews for Carolina Pad products. The manager questioned the ethics in paying for reviews.
Additionally, she argued that the agreement was informal and that Carolina Pads was not assured of favorable reviews. Despite the quality concerns, April did not want to jeopardize the longstanding positive relationship with other bloggers.
In fact, the company was already involving other bloggers in product reviews without making payments. April argued that accepting the terms would subject the company to ethical consequences because it would breach its mission and value statements.
Similarly, approving the request would expose the company to advertisement risks. However, declining the offer would affect the company’s relationship with other bloggers while subjecting the company to additional advertisement costs.
One of the alternatives was to accept the offer in order to increase the company’s rate of return. The bloggers’ requests were less than the advertisement costs set by professional advertisement firms and journalists. April also realized that most of her competitors used the strategy to increase the ratings on products.
Therefore, she could accept the offer, remain competitive, and match the competitors’ strategies. The other alternative was declining the offer and liaising with credible journalists and writers, who possessed advertisement standards and professional conducts. However, this decision would be more expensive than the bloggers’ deals.
Effects on Stakeholders
One of the stakeholders exposed to the outcomes of the offer was Carolina Pad. If April conceded to the offer, the company would be exposed to the contents of the reviews. Positive reviews were expected to enhance the company’s competitiveness while negative reviews would have affected the reputation and competitiveness of the company.
The other stakeholder would be the bloggers. Any positive feedback from April would enhance their wellbeing and demonstrate the company’s commitment to supporting bloggers’ initiatives. Similarly, consumers would be greatly affected by April’s decision.
If the bloggers decided to make positive reviews based on the payments, consumers would receive erroneous perceptions of the products. Advertisement firms, writers, and journalists would also be affected by April’s decision because they would interpret her decision as betraying the company’s commitment to quality professional services.
Ethical Reasoning Standards
In a utilitarianism perspective, which emphasizes on maximizing utility, Whitlock should have accepted the offer in order to increase the company’s financial returns and enhance the relationship with bloggers.
In a rights perspective, which focuses on privileges, she should not have accepted the offer because the bloggers do not have a right to payment for making reviews on products. However, a justice perspective, which focuses on legal and fair proceedings supports conceding to the offer.
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The bloggers would be working towards improving the credibility of the company. Therefore, they would be entitled to receive payments for their work. The virtue perspective follows the highest moral standard available. The perspective does not support paying bloggers to make reviews because it would betray the company’s values.
The manager should reject the offer and give reasons to the bloggers in order to protect the company’s relationship with bloggers without betraying its virtues and values.