October 13, 2009
Beating a dead horse - yet another (slight) criticism of the FTC's decision to regulate blogs
The rules offline should clearly apply online. This is a matter of principle, not medium, and the new rules are not an excessive burden. The guidelines state that endorsers must disclose payments in cash or in kind from companies whose products they endorse. Telling a commentator flogging a product online to disclose commercial ties does not constitute a challenge to free speech.
Still, regulators should tread carefully. As it enforces rules about disclosure of product endorsements on the Internet’s platforms, the F.T.C. must care not to hamstring the ability of bloggers and twitterers to report and comment about the world. To stay on the safe side, regulators should focus enforcement on the advertising companies rather than on the bloggers. Advertisers are the drivers of this new trend. The onus should be on them to ensure that blogs pitching their stuff warn readers about the commercial motivation of the endorsements.
But disclosure is a reasonable demand to make in any medium. It protects consumers and bolsters the bonds of trust between writers and their audience.
You can read the rest here.
October 13, 2009 | Permalink