It all started with a post by Deborah Yao, AP Business Writer. It is now all over the net.
The Federal Trade Commission is drafting new rules that would extend its authority to encompass bloggers who promote products in exchange for compensation or giveaways. The FTC’s new oversight could be quite extensive, even covering the common marketing practice of affiliate links, as the Associated Press reports:
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. It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online. The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer — and getting commissions for any sales from it — would be enough to trigger oversight.
As blogging rises in importance and sophistication, it has taken on characteristics of community journalism — but without consensus on the types of ethical practices typically found in traditional media.
Journalists who work for newspapers and broadcasters are held accountable by their employers, and they generally cannot receive payments from marketers and must return free products after they finish reviewing them.
If the guidelines are approved, bloggers would have to back up claims and disclose if they’re being compensated — the FTC doesn’t currently plan to specify how. The FTC could order violators to stop and pay restitution to customers, and it could ask the Justice Department to sue for civil penalties.
Certainly, bloggers ought disclose compensation arrangements, gifts, and conflicts of interest, and most reputable bloggers already do, but do we really need the FTC to keep its eye on every amateur blogger with a coupon?
Here is a video response from Daud08 that brings the point home. The whole article from Deborah Yao is expounded upon as he takes a deeper look into the implications of the FTC rules.
Blogging is mightier than the sword
“The pen blog is mightier than the sword” means a person can cause people to change their opinions(e.g., to fight a war)and on a large scale whereas a sword can only change a peron’s opion by force and then often only results in the person’s death.
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America considered the pen to be mightier than the sword, and therefore were able to gain the freedom of America by uniting the colonists.
We have seen the power of social media this week in following the Iranian citizens yearning for their freedom. This is not a door we want to see opened from the FTC. Again, not saying profits shouldn’t be disclosed but we don’t need anyone looking over our shoulders to see what we write.
I believe the consumers are capable of deciding what to read, what to write and what to purchase. We don’t need the government looking over our shoulders and eliminating our Freedom of Speech. This is a slippery slope.
Hollywood stars endorse products all the time on everything, they are paid for attaching their name to the product. Does it cause everyday Joe’s to buy something? Yes or it wouldn’t be an effective method of advertising. Most of the actors or athletics probably don’t even use the products. I believe the majority of the American people are smarter than to run out and buy a product they read about on a blog without considering the source.