Trust, blogs, and the FTC?

So, the FTC is coming after bloggers who make money and don’t adequately disclose it:

New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers – as well as the companies that compensate them – for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online. The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer – and getting commissions for any sales from it – would be enough to trigger oversight.

The Federal Government is the least trustworthy enterprise in the United States. Its leaders and representatives work solely for the benefit of the enterprise, circumventing its own rules and all standards of decency and honesty whenever they deem it necessary. Heck, just this week I received a bill–with penalties and interest–for a tax balance I paid before April 15. Really, how can Washington have any moral standing on this one?

  • Peter

    So, what does this actually mean for bloggers? If there is an ad do you have to put “This is an ad” next to it? Or would it only apply in situations where a blogger is getting revenue for their ad from X corp and they post something like “I think everybody should buy X”?

    Or, is it much more sinister than that? If you have a banner ad at the top of your blog and you say “Mayor Quimby is an upstanding, honest gentleman” will they fine you for “false claims”?

  • Quincy

    Peter –

    Honestly, I don’t quite know. That’s the danger in a proposal like this. When the government takes upon itself the duty of determining truth and enforcing that determination, truth becomes a servant of government interest. It is molded like clay into whatever shape the government needs to serve its ends.

  • Deneil Merritt

    I placed a disclaimer in the footer so there’s noway they can say I didn’t say its an affiliate link on any page of my blog. I will just say “check the link at the bottom”