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10-05-2009, 04:02 PM   #1
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Bloggers can no longer legally hide if their opinion was "bought"

Pentax news? No, not really Pentax news, if only to provide visibility and disclosure to what may actually be behind people who make us think they have an ax to grind. So, both to those posting rosey reviews of a product or scathing reviews of a product:

FTC to Fine Bloggers up to $11,000 for Not Disclosing Payments

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

Should be interesting if we see discosures popping-up in places we may not have expected it... or finally seeing them where we may have suspected it.

10-05-2009, 05:28 PM   #2
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In other words if a blog isnt a blog, they have to fess up. nice! I think being paid for blog posts is kind of defeating the point of a blog. I was under the assumption a blog was simply a web log, or pretty much an open forum journal style of personal exposition. Not so much anymore I guess!
10-05-2009, 10:24 PM   #3
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Or, it's another way for companies to smack down independent reviewers/websites by having the FTC dig through the finances of anyone that gives them a bad review.

Or maybe I'm just a cynic about the government's need and/or ability to fix a social non-problem.
10-06-2009, 02:25 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
to provide visibility and disclosure to what may actually be behind people who make us think they have an ax to grind.
Actually, the new paragraphs apply to forum posters as well.

And having obtained a free test unit (for the limited period of testing) already is a "material connection". Glad to have mentioned it here and in my blog while I was alpha testing the K-7

10-06-2009, 04:48 AM   #5
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It's basic honesty. People have the impression when they read blogs that they are impartial -- maybe more so than other news/reviewing outlets. However the biggest blogs often have contacts with commercial venues that push products. Pretty underhanded.
10-06-2009, 06:58 AM   #6
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also goes to show don't believe everything you read on the internet...

don't believe me?? :P
10-06-2009, 07:03 AM   #7
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It's been around in different forms...

If a local TV station does a story about General Electric or Turner Entertainment; they are required by law to state that General Electric or Turner Entertainment own the TV station or are the parent company of the owner. This way it is full disclosure so you can decide if the story was biased or not. Honestly these stories when they have to disclose the ownership of the TV station are probably the most balanced and unbiased stories they do.
10-06-2009, 07:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
And having obtained a free test unit (for the limited period of testing) already is a "material connection". Glad to have mentioned it here and in my blog while I was alpha testing the K-7
Good point. Though, what comes to mind too is it is a connection but would one consider it a 'gain' likely to sway one's opinion unless you get to keep it? I think it's human nature to be thankful to the company or operation making something available in an early and exclusive fashion, and thereby perhaps influence the opinion portrayed, especially if one doesn't receive early promotional items often. But I think what's being addressed with this is there's a different degree of 'influence' if someone gets to keep something from the company or organization making the promotional item available, or one is connected to them with some otherwise unknown relationship in some way, to provide everyone with visibility of that relationship by law.

10-06-2009, 09:43 AM   #9
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In principal I agree, but I wonder if this will now start a trend in the opposition direction?

It certainly opens the door for some interesting trolling possibilities -- people claiming corporate sponsorship with no such affiliation -- being jerks and reflecting poorly on the fictitious corporate benefactor.
10-06-2009, 10:36 AM   #10
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Well, to be honest, after seeing so much behavior that seems extremely pro-or-anti-this or that brand out there, I think some disclosure might well be in order, generally. It seems that when people have agendas they aren't exactly being helpful. I've been suspicious there's been a lot of 'viral negative advertising' out there, ...and for all we know, where there's possibly actual issues somewhere, there's sort of a 'people been crying wolf' factor involved.
10-06-2009, 11:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Well, to be honest, after seeing so much behavior that seems extremely pro-or-anti-this or that brand out there, I think some disclosure might well be in order, generally. It seems that when people have agendas they aren't exactly being helpful. I've been suspicious there's been a lot of 'viral negative advertising' out there, ...and for all we know, where there's possibly actual issues somewhere, there's sort of a 'people been crying wolf' factor involved.
Hear hear!
10-06-2009, 11:06 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by junyo Quote
Or, it's another way for companies to smack down independent reviewers/websites by having the FTC dig through the finances of anyone that gives them a bad review.

Or maybe I'm just a cynic about the government's need and/or ability to fix a social non-problem.
Good point, but they would be inviting a reciprocal investigation.

This is not really a social issue, its an issue of corporate misrepresentation. If a company discretely pays someone in kind, or in cash, to rubbish someone elses products and support theirs, then clearly that company is attempting to bypass laws regarding misrepresentation.

A company is NOT allowed to directly or indirectly make false claims about a competitor or its own products. If they are sponsoring a blogger to do just that they are just as guilty as if they had hired a PR company or ad agency to do the same.

This is really about enforcement of existing laws, not new laws.
10-06-2009, 12:15 PM   #13
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The reality is that when I read reviews on Amazon, I seldom read the five star reviews, or the one star reviews. The three and four star reviews are where most people will stick a real review and tell you the truth, positive and negative, about a product. Amazon and other places benefit from unreasonably glowing reviews on products, because people are more likely to buy things if they are recommended by other "normal" individuals.
10-06-2009, 01:00 PM   #14
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Someone post that FTC ruling to RH's blog, stat!
10-06-2009, 04:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by inferno10 Quote
Someone post that FTC ruling to RH's blog, stat!
Sadly he's out of their jurisdiction.

Not hard to figure out who is paying him though.
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