Re: Re: New FTC Rules For Bloggers

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Laurie Zupan

For the most part, the world of journalism has been policing themselves with these kinds of disclosures for years. When I worked as a restaurant reviewer, I could not accept free food, complimentary anything, etc. – even if it was something that might have been given to the average Joe who walked through the doors.

The lines are beginning to blur, especially in recent years with the very tough time many publications are having just staying afloat. One magazine sent me an assignment to do a story on a particular business. When I called the owner, she asked if it was part of the very expensive ad she’d just purchased for that month’s issue. On paper? No. But most obviously yes.

I have no problem with some time of standards being instituted to require bloggers to divulge when they are writing for a product that they’re either getting paid to do or getting the product free in exchange. But like others, it ought to be the same standard across the board. Trade publications are not lily-white and should be required to divulge that paying for an ad will most definitely increase one’s chances of positive coverage in their publication.

It’s a gray area, and I honestly think that except in absolutely blatant cases, it’s going to be very hard to enforce.