The Federal Trade Commission said it investigated Ann Taylor for trying to influence bloggers with gifts. The FTC took no action, its announcement publicized questions about blogger payola. Namely: Since when does a big-name retailer offer such crappy bribes?

Ann Taylor offered to enter bloggers in a drawing for $50 to $500 gift cards if they wrote—and submitted to the company—posts promoting the summer 2010 collection at Ann Taylor Loft, according to Ad Age. Good coverage in exchange for chance to win gift cards? Are bloggers that pathetic? Apparently not: While the Feds, like Ann Taylor, thought the promotion might produce a tidal wave of glowing coverage, it turned out "only a small number of bloggers posted content about the [collection] and several of those disclosed the gifts." A rising economic tide lifts all shills, Ann Taylor. Time to step up your game to, like, free handbags or something.

[Image via Ad Age]