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Author Topic: Federal Trade Commission (USA) to go after undisclosed kickbacks on blogs  (Read 4073 times)


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We've discussed this issue before in depth here.

I think this is excellent news and will hopefully discourage this practice of people recommending and writing about stuff while not revealing to readers that they are only recommending the product because they are getting paid.

Full disclosure is the way to go.

Savvy consumers often go online for independent consumer reviews of products and services, scouring through comments from everyday Joes and Janes to help them find a gem or shun a lemon.

What some fail to realize, though, is that such reviews can be tainted: Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post. Bloggers vary in how they disclose such freebies, if they do so at all.

The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

While this is being described as regulations on "bloggers" -- I really suspect that the major focus will be on those popular single issue websites that may technically be describable as "blogs" but are really little more than SEO optimized middlemen paid well to attract consumers to a fake review/recommendation of a product that they are making significant affiliate fees from.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 01:40 PM by mouser »


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Be nice if they could extend the rule to also cover some of the paid "astroturfing" and "evangelism" going on out there.

If we're gonna tolerate corruption, it behooves us to keep it within the bounds of officially sanctioned corrupt practices - such as political campaign financing and 'pork barrel' legislation.

Because if we don't, it just might be the end of the United States as we know it. :tellme:

wink wink ;)

Another article here: http://arstechnica.c...onsored-blogging.ars
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 09:26 PM by 40hz »