Theodore's World: FTC to Regulate Blogging ~ Product Review Bloggers

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October 06, 2009

FTC to Regulate Blogging ~ Product Review Bloggers

FTC to Regulate Blogging

FOX News

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."

Wild Thing's comment......

This effects product reviewing bloggers. I have no idea who they would be or what blogs they are. I have no time to go look for blogs that review products, and am not really interested. But I would think if they are conservatives they would be the kind of person that would have stated if something was a freebie given to them, in their review. But I really have no idea.

What IS alarming about this is how this is just another step towards hampering freedoms that we all have loved so much.

What about the Democrats that get paid by the DNC to post online like at YouTube and harass conservative bloggers and post in forums to disrupt posts and threads known as Trolls. Maybe this applies to them but it does not state that in the article. Like the bloggers employed by Obama.

I searched what is product review blogs and found this:

"Specifically about review blogs and fake review sites that Search Engine Optimization companies and web marketing companies set up. They generate hundreds, possibly thousands of fake reviews, all with links to the product pages on the seller's web site. Then, when the search engines find these reviews with the links, the website selling the products gets a boost on their ranking for the keywords in the link test. "


....Thank you Richard for sending this to me.

Posted by Wild Thing at October 6, 2009 06:47 AM


This democrat controlled government wants to control bloggers but doesn't want to impede potential terrorists using multiple phones? Seems like these kiddies have it backwards.

Posted by: TomR at October 6, 2009 10:59 AM

Should we be more clandestine Chrissie? Freedom of speech threatens their agenda and we must be stopped, Russ Feingold and John McCain nearly gagged us, this is round two and he has the "Hugo Chavez Czar" on board.

Posted by: Jack at October 6, 2009 01:33 PM

Yup, this is just the start of the demise of the 1st Amendment. The internet is just about the last bastion of Liberty and soon that will be gone too.

Posted by: Mark at October 6, 2009 02:04 PM

I thought they were going after Glenn Beck and Rush... FIRST?

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at October 6, 2009 10:12 PM

Tom, yes they do,and they are forgetting
they have bloggers that are democrats. LOL
They will make a fuss about this I would
think so anyway.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 7, 2009 03:13 AM

Jack, you are right.
There is no way I can change what I do here.
haha Maybe Obama can learn something. heh heh

I doubt it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 7, 2009 03:15 AM

Mark,waaaaaa and grrrrr I hope it is a slow process.
I love having a blog and getting to be
with all of you on here.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 7, 2009 03:17 AM

Darth, I thought so too. Maybe they will
do it all at the same time.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 7, 2009 03:19 AM