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Toyota has seen more than its fair share of negative press over the past year and a half, but is the Japanese automaker willing to pay "mommy bloggers" to spread positive news? Mom site Dear Crissy reports that it received an email offering a $10 Amazon gift card in exchange for a post that highlights the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no software issues that led to the company's unintended acceleration woes.

The email, which reportedly came from a company called Mommy Networks, cited Toyota's damaged reputation, adding "we're helping to spread the positive news." The email asked for a blog post about NHTSA's release with links to a few articles, some love on social networking sites and "thumbs up" votes for YouTube videos.

For its part, Toyota denies having anything to do with the offer, adding that the company "adheres to the highest standards when working with media, journalists and blogger and we find any sort of payment for editorials or blogs unethical and illegal according to FCC guidelines."

Dear Crissy has since published an update indicating that the site has been contacted by both Mommy Networks and Toyota, both of which claim no affiliation with each other. Mommy Networks has since gone on to post a mea culpa on its website to both Crissy and Toyota.

[Sources: Dear Crissy via The Consumerist, MommyNetworks.org| Image: Toyota]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just a reminder to take everything you read on the internet with a gigantic grain of salt.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ESPECIALLY AutoBlog. 2WD Subarus, PFFT!
        • 4 Years Ago
        ...even Autoblog?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bummer... No shock they claim no affiliation :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm thinking Toyota hired a PR firm to help improve their image then that PR firm either created or hired Mommy Networks. Now Toyota and Mommy Networks can claim no affiliation because neither is working with the other directly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      obligatory MILF comment
        • 4 Years Ago
        That woman definitely isn't a MILF.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The problem with the Toyota braking issue was that it wasn't a software or hardware issue at all.

      The problem was one of actual design: pressing on the brake doesn't deactivate the engine.like it does in so many other cars. But Toyota arrogantly figured that their designs made this rather obvious design feature somehow unnecessary.

      It is still also possible that there was some other software or hardware problem that caused the runaway cars. It's pretty damn hard to prove that software and hardware doesn't go wrong in unexpected ways sometimes, so even these announcements are not that persuasive.


        • 4 Years Ago
        The onus is on the accuser to show that a defect exists. It's pretty hard to show that a defect doesn't exist.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota's in my pissant list because of the "uncool parents drive something else" commercials. Someone thinks those are funny, but as the target market (40 something buying a new vehicle this year) I don't. YMMV.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I’m sorry but I am still against Toyota on this whole unintended acceleration bit. If you are building cars that people can’t just step on the pedal and go and/or step on the brake and stop, then you have an issue with your cars. That goes for any automaker. If a car is being bought and used for everyday commuting, there is no reason that someone should not be able to put the car in gear, depress the throttle, turn the steering wheel, and step on the brake when going to the grocery store without issue. If the driver needs a lesson on any of the former, then we have an issue. Nuff said.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I retract my statements about toyota and the blog stuff! I was lied to and admit I believed it and then vented! So for that I'm sorry!.............. However, the still have problems, still have millions of recalls, still lied through their teeth and still tried to cover up everything! That's i'm not retracting!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jethro,

        No I am not Domestic fanboy. I like all kinds of cars but we already had this discussion on another post here on AB.

        You must be a Toyota nut hugger... Now go back to your Yaris.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ iKingston,

        While I appreciate the need to engineer consumer products to the lowest common denominator, I don't agree with your endorsement to remain uneducated. Every unexpected event on the road cannot be blamed solely on the manufacturers. No one should have died from this Toyota issue, everyone should have had the wherewithal to put the car in neutral and bring it to a stop. End of story.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Volvo and Ford are up there in unintended acceleration cases too. Go do some research before you talk garbage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't tell me to stop! I am very well versed when it comes vehicular knowledge. I fully understand that other manufacturers have had issues with bad design but that lands on them (the manufacturers) not the consumers/drivers. I personally believe that there is no street legal car on sale today that the average driver couldn't jump in and take off down the road without issue, unless we are talking supercars.

        Now I am not saying that the average driver is not idiot on the road (driving while reading, putting on make or texting or anything other than paying attention to the road ahead). I am saying that common sense alone should be enough knowledge to drive. You push the skiny pedal go forward or backward (hopefully they pay attention to what gear they're in), push the fat pedal to slow down and stop and the big circle thing in your face should be used to turn corners. If special attention needs to paid to what after market floor mats you can put in your car or even if the stock floor mats cause a pedal to stick, that is bad design and the sole responsibility is on the manufacturer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Toyota wasn't exactly even cleared of electronics if you even read the report summary. The report clearly says that older models with potentiometer-type pedals did indeed have the suspected "tin whiskers" and that could induce increased engine speed. But they said they were unable to reproduce anything beyond 15 degrees opening simulating that. They also said that other types of shorts that might be in newer systems also produced some engine speed increase, but that they were unable to determine a pattern of any defects from warranty claims that would indicate that was happening or again reproduce more than a modest engine speed increase. Overall, it's hardly an air-tight absolution.
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow! You people can't read. Boil the article down and you get this: The email was simply spam or phishing from some 3rd party.

        Wouldn't put it past some manufacturers (*ahem* GM) to launch ANOTHER smear campaign.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @iKingston

        I agree! They still have problems with their automobiles! Whatever it was or is, it's broke and if you have unintended acceleration, it will STILL KILL YA if you don't have a crow bar hand at 60MPH to pry your freaking pedal backwards!

        My GOD they will do anything!

        And yeah! They DID offer the $10 gift certificate through a PR agency that handles online public relations and social media marketing! How do I know? Well I just so happen to be in that business and know what they're doing and who they're doing it through!

        F'n liars! Again and again! I don't trust them at all!

        It's one thing to have a recall, it's another to have millions and millions of cars that are broken that can kill people, knowing about it, not doing anything about it, then lying about it, then covering it up, then getting busted for lying, then lying about lying, then getting busted for that too, then hiring bloggers through (i know the co) to do this online marketing and then lying about that too! - Moving Forward, Right Past Toyota to a Ford Dealer

        Who would have imagined!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank You, some forget so easily how sleazily Toyota handled this entire problem. Hiding evidence while people are dying is not something to be proud of and should be shouted from the treetops. Toyota acted unethically and they should pay the price. To heck with those that would give the liars a free pass, free passes are the very reason they did their dirty deeds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @RAndroid

        "And yeah! They DID offer the $10 gift certificate through a PR agency that handles online public relations and social media marketing! How do I know? Well I just so happen to be in that business and know what they're doing and who they're doing it through!"

        This is the worst kind of source that leads to misinformation. Cite a link or a valid source.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "If special attention needs to paid to what after market floor mats you can put in your car or even if the stock floor mats cause a pedal to stick, that is bad design and the sole responsibility is on the manufacturer."

        At what point does responsibility vest in the consumer? What if I stacked 100 stock floormats in my car? Would that be the manufacturer's fault? Clearly not. How about 99 then? Okay I guess that would be the consumer's fault too.

        Right, so what about 2? Is that the manufacturer's fault or the consumers? If you're saying it's the consumer's fault, how do you feel about triple stacking?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't care what Toyota was or was not cleared of! There is a problem with the cars. Toyota seems to be the only one who had this UA ordeal so if you are saying that it is not solely on the manufacturer or the parts supplier then why were their cars having an issue and no other automakers were? Sure there were recalls that kinda sorta related but nothing to the extent that Toyota had. If they want to blame it on a bad pedal design or floor mats, fine! Just fix the problem! I just can't believe that I am being marked down by the same people who criticized Toyota for letting the issue go as far as it did.

        I see people who buy Toyotas as people who just need a car, with maybe a few luxuries but no zip-d-dodas or flashy looks. They just want something to get them from point A to point B and C without issue or complication. So, I personally think that is what the car should deliver and Toyota has recently failed to do that. And if you all have forgotten the average age of a Toyota driver is kinda up there and that tells me that these are experienced drivers (maybe not the best but experienced). So they should know how to handle the basic functions of the car and should not need direction or lessons to teach them how to depress pedals and put the car through gears. In the end I think that Toyota's conclusion of "user error" is BS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It sounds like you're ready to stop driving entirely. There's nothing wrong with Toyotas doing any of that going and stopping and turning that doesn't affect every other car out there. Since no cars live up to your expectations, I'm excited to see that a driver such as yourself, who doesn't think the driver needs even a little understanding of how their car works, will now be off the road.
        -N
        • 4 Years Ago
        Im willing to bet youre a duhmestic fanboy. Probably upset over Detroit losing their dominance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You people disagree? Wow..?!

        I understand that the average consumer is probably half way to mental instability (joke) but it should only require minor common sense to operate a vehicle properly. So if Toyota is seemingly the only automaker having this issue with "driver error" there is an issue!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It gets me how they are saying that they have been "Cleared" - They seem to forget to add, that they were only cleared from the "Electronic" unintended acceleration and not that which was being caused by floor mats and the bad pedal design. Convenient....
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Toyota seems to be the only one who had this UA ordeal..." - iKingston

        Just stop. Right there you're not bothering to educate yourself. 'Unintended Acceleration' is not a new problem. It just about ruined Audi in the 80's all because of proper performance pedal setup that your "A to B" type drivers couldn't operate. Many other manufacturers have had their time with UA as well (Honda, GM, Ford, etc.).

        I never said Toyota was innocent, but I sure as h3ll won't back down from the stance that people need to take some responsibility and realize that everyday they are hurling themselves down a highway at 55+ mph. It might be a good idea to have that noise or that vibration checked out. Secure those floor mats, stop applying makeup, reading the newspaper, talking on the phone and learn to drive the damn car. Being an "A to B" driver doesn't give you the excuse to half-ass* it then blame everyone else when you've killed someone.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What's wrong with that? At least it's the truth, (unlike what we hear from our politicians!)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Talk about a dedicated fan. Sending out her own money to spread the word.

      Weird though, Toyota still tried to cover up the gas pedal under the floor mat issue; not sure why a "mommy" site would want to endorse a company like that so quickly afterwords.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So what probably REALLY happened is that Toyota gave the blogger a much bigger sum of money to start a faux scandal, knowing that more people will hear about the story that NASA found their electronics safe that way. Because "scandal" gets more readers than "NASA report on auto safety". And Toyota, in the mind of readers, goes from 'maker of unsafe cars', to 'sneaky marketer who makes reliable cars'. (assuming they believe the NASA report, and don't have any doubts about NASA's judgement on the safety of things just because a couple of space shuttles exploded).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the point of the article is that peer-to-peer reviews, blogs, thumbs up, etc should always be viewed with suspicion since there are marketing departments and PR firms out there offering people money to fluff the ratings.

      Not quite as bogus as NACTOY voting, mind you, but certainly open to manipulation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would like to call this Social Media Manipulation. Putting a spin on a story for a minimal price. I applaud the site "Dear Crissy" for having a high moral standard to bust this lame attempt at manipulation instead of pandering for $10. It seems innocent, but really it is paying for a favorable review. How Toyota is linked to this or not linked to this would be an interesting back story. The "Mommy Networks" page does not allow any posts or feedback. I am sure it will be gone in no time flat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...a $10 Amazon gift card?
        • 4 Years Ago
        guess it's the global crisis
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