Sunday, October 11, 2009

US Govt interferes with bloggers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released new guidelines limiting the freedom of US bloggers. The caps are on freedom are in the field of endorsement. For instance on reviewing a book or a movie.
October 10, 2009
Wake Up! - The FTC is screwing with bloggers

If you are a blogger in the US your life is about to change big-time.

You have just entered the Twilight Zone...

New FTC guidelines (read full version) described in the official press release state:

1 - "the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service."


2 - the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement - or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media."

My reading of this is very disturbing.

Here is a possible scenario:

1. You - a "social media" "celebrity" "blogger" (this is anyone who has more than a few followers on Twitter or some number of subscribers to their blog RSS feed) reviews a book, product, or service - making it an "endorsement"
2. You got a copy of the book to review, or got a free trial of the product, or a free trial of the service
3. You did not mention the freebie in your blog post
4. If someone does not like your blog posting you can be sued
Read more at Search Engine Watch.

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