Re: Re: New FTC Rules For Bloggers

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Ann Emmert Abbott

This is quickly becoming a major brouhaha as bloggers and tweeters of all ranks are vulnerable. It’s all we talked about last night in an editors’ chat and all day today in the publishers’ list I belong to.

The new guidelines start out applying to advertising, but farther along, they specifically mention bloggers. Unfortunately the criteria by which we will be judged are vague. I am particularly and keenly interested because I receive books (sometimes unrequested) from publishers and often review them, but not always favorably.

What will be considered a “testimonial” is also vague. Book reviews are often mixed with positive and negative aspects pointed out. I really don’t want to have to put a disclaimer in every review, and anyway, the book (which is of value in itself) comes to me first and not in payment for any testimonial.

Some of us already display blanket disclaimers within our websites and/or link to them. While these new guidelines (not laws or even rules…yet) are aimed at the pay-per-posters who boost products and are paid for their testimony. Unfortunately we are all being tarred with the same brush, and some don’t think it is the government’s place to legislate ethics in the business world, or the blogosphere.