FTC to Investigate Bloggers Receiving Pay for Posts

The Federal Trade Commission announced plans last week to monitor blogs for payments and claims.
Deborah Yao of the Associated Press reported:

“The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. 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.

“… Existing FTC rules already ban deceptive and unfair business practices. The proposed guidelines aim to clarify the law and for the first time specifically include bloggers, defined loosely as anyone writing a personal journal online.”

Last month, Gawker called out Julia Allison for questionable blog promotion involving a trip to Sea World. The site also pointed to an interesting cartoon how-to, “The Caveman’s Guide to Sponsored Conversations,” about how to sell out on your blog.
What comes of the FTC’s plans will be interesting to watch. Is the FTC just rattling the saber at blogs and social media? There aren’t many rules now for faux-bloggers and “social media marketers,” but depending on the FTC’s plans, that may well change by the end of the summer.

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