Monday, October 5, 2009


Mind Control From DC

A ridiculous FTC announcement reported by Yahoo! Tech:
FTC: Bloggers must disclose payments for reviews

The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

It is the first time since 1980 that the commission has revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials, and the first time the rules have covered bloggers.

But the commission stopped short Monday of specifying how bloggers must disclose any conflicts of interest.

The FTC said its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final guidelines, which had been expected. Penalties include up to $11,000 in fines per violation.

The rules take effect Dec. 1.
There are so many things wrong with that, I don't know where to begin. But gee whiz--a fine up to $11,000, and no clear guidance on what a blogger needs to do to avoid that fine?!

I should disclose that I do a lot of work for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and I'm sure my sugar daddies there would appreciate the present blog post.

These tough measures are necessary to protect the innocent masses from blogger-conflict-of-interest. How else are we going to bring the law down on these cyber-miscreants?

Or are you in on the whole thing, too?
For the very paranoid: it's a great way of completely undermining blogger anonymity for good, and not just when somebody is spewing libel and lies.
It's almost as if we were all sitting around after ingesting some extreme psychedelic drug and we were being quite silly, conjuring up completely absurd things even liberals would never propose.
When I saw this, I thought it was the Onion.

I had only a few mins earlier blogged a recommendation of a CD - one that had been GIVEN to me for free, like a payoff. I wondered if I needed to disclose that.
Certainly over-reaching, but perhaps a clarification that the proposed FTC rule only applies to "product" endorsements at the behest of a seller is helpful.

But in any case, who needs any government involvement in truth-in-advertising of any kind, when we have private markets for reputation and exposing conflicts of interest?

This is exactly what the Royal Society and others have tried to do with respect to policy arguments underwritten by Exxon, etc.ati
i also thing there is somr thing wromg........
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