We thought you should know that the Federal Trade Commission just published new guidelines about – among other things – blogs that feature product endorsements.
That sure caught my attention.
The Guides, which have been around since 1980, have been freshened up to “specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, 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.”
Then I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
See, there’s a seedy underbelly to media where some journalists – crappy, amoral journalists for sure (there are many names for these people: swag hags, freebie queens, whores, shills) – but still journalists, who too enthusiastically accept gifts (like bikes and components), giveaways, expensive meals, all-expenses-paid trips and the like in exchange for editorial coverage. If you’re a keen reader, you can probably already spot this perversion, aptly called “advertorial.” So far it has flown silently under the radar because the FTC has no authority to regulate speech unless it’s specifically commercial speech.
The new guidelines surfaced due to a recent spate of bloggers trumpeting the virtues of a product that they were either given or were paid to endorse.
[Just to be clear… anything I write about is something that either I purchased or a friend purchased and I’ve used. The exception that comes to mind is stuff donated to QuietlyHelping.org but I will include in the context of the piece that it was donated. I’ll happily except stuff for review, as I already do with books, and occasionally other stuff, but if it appears here, you will know when I was given something. Otherwise you can safely assume I hauled out my wallet.]
Source: Speedgoat Blog