Linked by Kroc Camen on Tue 6th Oct 2009 09:10 UTC
Legal "US regulators will for the first time crack down on bloggers who fail to disclose fees or freebies they get from companies for reviewing products. The Federal Trade Commission, decided to update its nearly 30 year old guidelines to clarify the law for the vast world of blogging. Offenders could face eventual fines of up to $11,000 (GBP 6,900) per violation."
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DREVILl30564
Member since:
2008-04-18

when I first setup my blog I contacted several companys, geeks.com, etc. and asked about doing reviews of products and got told sorry we don't do that anymore....

geez and to think I could have gotten paid to blog about someone's crap.....

Reply Score: 1

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

when I first setup my blog I contacted several companys, geeks.com, etc. and asked about doing reviews of products and got told sorry we don't do that anymore....

It works the other way around. First you build a very successful and influential blog with a lot of readers. Then the companies will contact you and ask you to review their products.

Reply Score: 2

DREVILl30564 Member since:
2008-04-18

well I'm getting about 100 to 300 hits per day for my blog site now, but back then I was just getting started.

I've been blogging about my experiences with OSX86 and getting Mac OSX to run properly on a Intel Atom based D945GCLF board.

I make a little off the adsense ads but mostly I do the site for fun.

Reply Score: 1

Really?
by David on Tue 6th Oct 2009 13:17 UTC
David
Member since:
1997-10-01

This strikes me as a very strange bit of news. I was unaware that this was a problem. My guess is that this is to combat "sock puppet" blogging, wherein a company has people on the payroll that pretend to be grassroots customers and post lots of favorable stuff online in order to generate buzz. I suppose that could make sense as a responsibility of the FTC, as a sort of false advertising.

But honestly, until the actors on television commercials pretending to like the pancake-wrapped sausages are required to stand in front of the camera at the end of te commercial and remind people that they're actors and are only eating this shit because they're being paid to, I can't understand why the FTC is picking on bloggers in particular.

I know that I have never been offered money to write a favorable review, though it is true that for many of the smaller items that we do reviews of, the manufacturer don't ask for them back. So do I need to make a disclaimer now whenever we do a book review that the publisher gave us a free book?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Really?
by anevilyak on Tue 6th Oct 2009 13:20 UTC in reply to "Really?"
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14

But honestly, until the actors on television commercials pretending to like the pancake-wrapped sausages are required to stand in front of the camera at the end of te commercial and remind people that they're actors and are only eating this shit because they're being paid to, I can't understand why the FTC is picking on bloggers in particular.


Don't they already do this? Every commercial I see advertising some drug, food, etc. that has what look like testimonials in it usually flash something about them being paid actors. Though come to think of it, that might mainly be medical products where the rules are a lot stricter.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Really?
by Kroc on Tue 6th Oct 2009 19:52 UTC in reply to "Really?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

“All I want for christmas is a PSP”.

Reply Score: 1

Complete Crap
by asupcb on Tue 6th Oct 2009 13:41 UTC
asupcb
Member since:
2005-11-10

This is completely stupid. How are you they going to enforce this rule when many people online are anonymous or use pseudonyms? Also, isn't this a restriction on free speech?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Complete Crap
by JLF65 on Tue 6th Oct 2009 16:39 UTC in reply to "Complete Crap"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

This is completely stupid. How are you they going to enforce this rule when many people online are anonymous or use pseudonyms? Also, isn't this a restriction on free speech?


Business speech is not and never has been protected. It's considered not a form of free speech. If you're trying to sell a product, you can't just say anything and claim 1st amendment protection.

But the part about anonymous bloggers is definitely a problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Complete Crap
by Kochise on Tue 6th Oct 2009 18:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Complete Crap"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

"Business speech is not and never has been protected. It's considered not a form of free speech. If you're trying to sell a product, you can't just say anything and claim 1st amendment protection."

So I can say "This is GREAT product" (subjective taste) but not "This is SHIT product" (subjective taste either) ? I bet the reader can make up his/her mind about the opinion of the reviewer, doesn't s/he ?

Kochise

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Complete Crap
by boldingd on Tue 6th Oct 2009 19:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Complete Crap"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

"Business speech is not and never has been protected. It's considered not a form of free speech. If you're trying to sell a product, you can't just say anything and claim 1st amendment protection."

So I can say "This is GREAT product" (subjective taste) but not "This is SHIT product" (subjective taste either) ? I bet the reader can make up his/her mind about the opinion of the reviewer, doesn't s/he ?


Business speech, as in, "speech by or on behalf of a corporation." You, a private citizen, can say either. Microsoft, a publicly traded corporation, cannot -- or, rather, is not constitutionally guaranteed the right to do either.

Reply Score: 1

People abused the privilege ...
by Moulinneuf on Tue 6th Oct 2009 18:07 UTC in reply to "Complete Crap"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

It take 5 seconds to track an IP to an ISP to the owner of an internet account. Or they could be coming from the company themself with the list of people who got paid and they where sued for false advertising and in order for the court to diminish their punishment ( fines , jail times , community service ) they rat out the name of the blogger they sent equipment to and paid them ( they track paypal or bank account or credit system ) for reviews ... As long as you mark it as a paid review your in the clear btw.

Also in the USofA, Free speech and laws don't apply to anonymous who don't use their real names. Your considered one step from terrorist.

Free Speech is about real people using there real name to make a statements and not fear any repercussion for it. It's not about anonymous using pseudonym to insult , libel and slander others without any consequences.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Complete Crap
by boldingd on Tue 6th Oct 2009 19:10 UTC in reply to "Complete Crap"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Not necessarily; I don't know if it matters, but they're not actually restricting what can be said in the blog, they're just requiring that you have to disclose any potential influences or conflicts of interest. You can still claim that your iPhone cures cancer, you just have to disclose that Apple is paying you $150,000. That might be the difference between the law just being "kinda squirrely" and it actually posing a constitutionality issue.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Complete Crap
by judgen on Tue 6th Oct 2009 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Complete Crap"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

What if you used a technology to develop (sucessfully) a cure for cancer. Can you then claim it (the device in question) helped cure cancer or would that still be wrong?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Complete Crap
by boldingd on Tue 6th Oct 2009 22:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Complete Crap"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Either you didn't understand my post, or I don't understand yours.

Reply Score: 1

But what about the NYT
by uteck on Tue 6th Oct 2009 17:43 UTC
uteck
Member since:
2006-07-16

Are they going to require David Pouge, who writes for the New York Times, to remind people at the end of his gushing review of the latest fruity gizmo, that he also writes books about how to use said gizmo?

Reply Score: 1

RE: But what about the NYT
by Moulinneuf on Tue 6th Oct 2009 18:12 UTC in reply to "But what about the NYT"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/

"About Pogue’s Posts
David Pogue's technology column has appeared each Thursday in The Times since 2000. Each week, he also writes the Times e-mail column "From the Desk of David Pogue," creates a short, funny Web video for NYTimes.com, and posts entries to his Times blog. In his other life, David is an Emmy-winning correspondent for CBS News, a frequent contributor to NPR's "Morning Edition," creator of the Missing Manual series of computer books, and father of three."

Reply Score: 2

Reasonable Policy
by Praxis on Tue 6th Oct 2009 23:29 UTC
Praxis
Member since:
2009-09-17

This new policy seems to me just a logical extension of current rules in advertising just being applied to new media. If your being paid to say good things about a product, thats advertisement. If a company pays you to go to a forum and start topics about how awesome you think a video game is, you are advertising. If a company pays you to start a blog about how awesome the psp is, thats advertisement. Requiring you to disclose that relationship seems reasonable to me since it greatly effects how people will view what is being said to them.

The same thing with disclosing if the company gave you a product to review, disclosing that is standard ethics, most real journalists do it already and its not a big deal "Company X sent me product Y to review and here are my thoughts" thats all it would take.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of people will not be effected by this policy one iota. Are you being paid by company X, if not, you have nothing to worry about. Where you given a review copy, if not, you have nothing to worry about. Seems simple enough to me

Reply Score: 2

Odd focus
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 7th Oct 2009 16:46 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

At least to me, it seems a bit odd to go after the bloggers being paid to advertise surreptitiously - rather than going after the companies paying for the advertisement. If a misleading/deceptive advertisement appears in traditional media, it's not the magazine/newspaper/television station that's held responsible.

Obviously there's some difference - if a blogger is being paid to astroturf, then they're actively/knowingly complicit in deceptive marketing (which isn't necessarily the case with E.g. a print publication running a misleading advert). But I still think that the companies paying for deceptive advertisements should be held ultimately responsible.

It also seems overly-specific to me - there are plenty of examples of "undercover marketing" outside of blogs & the internet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undercover_marketing#Examples_of_under...

Edited 2009-10-07 16:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2