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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ooops, That will be $11,000 Please

by Dan Costa
FTC Guns for Blogger Shills—and Misses
Retrieved by Pat Darnell
Blogger payola is risible, but the new FTC guidelines are misguided, unenforceable, and utterly useless.

"The FTC released guidelines designed to crackdown on the blogger payola—the risible practice of paying people to write favorable things about your products or company. As the editor who runs the Reviews team here at, I thought it would be worth my time to wade through the 81-page guide of regulations. After all, the penalty could be $11,000 per violation.

"Near as I can tell, the regulation will require every blogger to disclose payments, gifts, and professional interests for every tweet, post, or email that supports a given company. In other words, this mess of regulations misunderstands media, creates unenforceable rules, and, quite possibly, violates our First Amendment right to free speech. [read entire Article HERE]
[ ... ]
"Recently, PCMag got a copy of the Halo: ODST and positively reviewed it (It got 3.5 stars). We don't have to say a thing about where we got the software. Why the difference? According to the regs:

"The Commission does not consider reviews published in traditional media (i.e., where a newspaper, magazine, or television or radio station with independent editorial responsibility assigns an employee to review various products or services as part of his or her official duties, and then publishes those reviews) to be sponsored advertising messages."
"Well, bully for traditional media—whatever that means these days. As an occasional blogger, frequent Twitterer, reluctant Facebooker, and full-time journalist, I wonder what set of rules the FTC would have me follow? Better still, what are the chances it COULD make me follow them? ..."

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