Oct 5, 2009

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Bloggers who plug products on their blog or provide product reviews in exchange for free swag will have to report what they're up to under new rules laid down by the Federal Trade Commission.

From the New York Times:

The F.T.C. said that beginning on Dec. 1, bloggers who review products must disclose any connection with advertisers, including, in most cases, the receipt of free products and whether or not they were paid in any way by advertisers, as occurs frequently. The new rules also take aim at celebrities, who will now need to disclose any ties to companies, should they promote products on a talk show or on Twitter. A second major change, which was not aimed specifically at bloggers or social media, was to eliminate the ability of advertisers to gush about results that differ from what is typical — for instance, from a weight loss supplement.

For bloggers who review products, this means that the days of an unimpeded flow of giveaways may be over. More broadly, the move suggests that the government is intent on bringing to bear on the Internet the same sorts of regulations that have governed other forms of media, like television or print.

“It crushes the idea that the Internet is separate from the kinds of concerns that have been attached to previous media,” said Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University.
The story does not say what constitutes full disclosure. Time will tell if the tougher rules will send advertising dollars back to legitimate news sites.


Anonymous said...

Every day less free to speak, always justified by goby and self appointed censors. The pace of soft intolerance quickens.

Anonymous said...

Typo: government censors, above.