DotComBum (3 November, 2009)
More government stupidity:
FTC to Regulate Blogging
Monday , October 05, 2009
The Federal Trade Commission will try to regulate blogging for the first time, requiring writers on the Web to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.
The FTC said Monday its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final Web guidelines, which had been expected. Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews.
The commission stopped short of specifying how bloggers must disclose conflicts of interest. Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's advertising practices division, said the disclosure must be "clear and conspicuous," no matter what form it will take.
Bloggers have long praised or panned products and services online. But what some consumers might not know is that many companies pay reviewers for their write-ups or give them free products such as toys or computers or trips to Disneyland. In contrast, at traditional journalism outlets, products borrowed for reviews generally have to be returned.
Before the FTC gave notice last November it was going to regulate such endorsements, blogs varied in the level of disclosures about these potential conflicts of interest.
The FTC's proposal made many bloggers anxious. They said the scrutiny would make them nervous about posting even innocent comments.
To placate such fears, Cleland said the FTC will more likely go after an advertiser instead of a blogger for violations. The exception would be a blogger who runs a "substantial" operation that violates FTC rules and already received a warning, he said.
Existing FTC rules already banned deceptive and unfair business practices. The final guidelines aim to clarify the law for the vast world of blogging. Not since 1980 had the commission revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials.
Cleland said a blogger who receives a freebie without the advertiser knowing would not violate FTC guidelines. For example, someone who gets a free bag of dog food as part of a promotion from a pet shop wouldn't violate FTC guidelines if he writes about the product on his blog.
Blogger Linsey Krolik said she's always disclosed any freebies she's received on products she writes about, but has stepped up her efforts since last fall. She said she adds a notice at the end of a post, "very clear in italics or bold or something — this is the deal. It's not kind of buried."
DotComBum (3 November, 2009)
The FTC isn't an international governing body, MeetHere.
You know what? I'll take my chances. I am seriously getting tired of these continuous attempts by not only the U.S. Government, but many other governments as well, to place restrictions on the internet, internet content and internet activity. It's not gonna fly, pal. I'm not giving in. Bodies like the FTC and FCC continue to make rage flow through my veins.Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews.
Funny enough, the governments of the world don't seem to understand that it is impossible to regulate the internet. They don't seem to realize that they are outnumbered and that we simply will not submit to their ridiculous demands. I'm a very patriotic person and I support my government - but not when it comes to things like this. These attempts need to end.
Countries like North Korea, China and Iran heavily suppress internet activity. Things like that are the worst sort of regulations. They need to get with the program. It's sickening to see more intellectual and developed nations taking steps backwards by trying to bombard website and blog owners with legalities, restrictions, penalties, etc. Pay taxes on this, disclose this, put a disclaimer here, write a publicly accessible policy regarding this and that, don't mention this topic, that one, or this other one, pay fees on this, etc. Seriously, come on now.
Loko (6 October, 2009)
The Internet sees regulation as damage and routes around it.
Submit Your Webmaster Related Sites to the NB Directory
I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
That link doesn't appear valid.
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Here's the dreaded document
While I wouldn't mind some kind of 'site certification' on a voluntary basis and from a non-governmental body like a consumers organisation, I fully agree with Kovich.
Governmental regulation is going too far in this case and puts U.S. bloggers in a disadvantage.
Last edited by Loko; 6 October, 2009 at 14:25 PM. Reason: typo
Here is the link to the FTC summary page.
It is curious that the Obama government wants to start cracking down on the Internet, but doesn't do much about the phony endorsements by celebrities in TV infomercials.
They will probably target a couple of large bloggers or product review sites that are taking payoffs for favorable product endorsements. I think a lot of the larger sites do receive free products to review. I do not see that as being a bad thing as long as the reviews are fair. But when a site gets thousands of dollars to write a favorable product review, that crosses a line. They cannot go after every site, but they can scare a lot of bloggers if they successfully prosecute a few of the big ones.
They really should start regulating all of the lies and deceptive information we get from politicians.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin
Good grief, sometimes I just wish the dinosaurs who don't understand the Internet would collectively disappear in some kind of mass extinction and let those of us who really appreciate modern technology get on with life. I can't wait for the day we can wear the Internet on our clothes, or in our skulls.
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