When did the FTC start having jurisdiction over blogging? I obviously missed the memo. Actually they don’t, it’s still regulation over advertisers, but it’s acknowledging that blogging is one new avenue for marketing. Macworld has more.
Conceptually all of this bugs me and I could rant on for a while about it. However in the end, I have a degree of “OK” with all of this. The thing is that the Internet is a place ripe for transmission of information that’s less than truthful. When you couple in the ease of anonymity, it makes it hard to always believe your sources. Of course, one remedy to this is to trust your sources, do the work to vet them, and if you can’t be sure of the source then don’t be sure of the information. It’s one reason I make no bones about who I am on my blog: I’m willing to stand behind what I write and willing to let you know the source of the material. I am human, I will make mistakes, I will evolve my ideas and opinions and knowledge over time, but I do my best to be solid.
But of course, the reality is if someone wants to be unscrupulous, they will be and no law or guidelines or regulation will stop them. Thus in the end what the FTC did amounts to a whole lot of nothing useful and a whole lot of regulatory burden placed upon law-abiding citizens that are just trying to live their lives without hassle.
For the record, all of the “endorsements” and “reviews” and such that I’ve done on this blog are purely my own personal opinion. Anything I’ve reviewed or endorsed has been from my own personal experience, paying for the thing out of my own pocket, and either being a satisfied or unsatisfied customer. If I ever did receive something free, I’d say so regardless of the FTC ruling, because my own personal integrity depends upon it.
Updated: I like what Linoge did: made a “For Hire” category and any such actual paid/compensated endorsements/reviews/etc. and such get classified under that. Makes a nice way to corral things together and make context evident. So, I’ve created such a category and you’ll note that, at least as of this writing, this posting is the only thing under that category so some context to the category can be retained.