FTC Guidelines Raise Big Blogging Questions

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This is one of the biggest crocks of crap I have ever heard:

The Federal Trade Commission has released its revised guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The revisions include a focus on "bloggers" and social media users, requiring them to properly disclose when they have received payment in the form of either money or product from a company or organization and produce content regarding said company or organization. The word is that bloggers can be fined up to $11,000 per post for not disclosing.

And then (par for the course) Matt Cutts chimes in on the side of the FTC:

"As a Google engineer who has seen the damage done by fake blogs, sock puppets, and endless scams on the internet, I'm happy to take the opposite position: I think the FTC guidelines will make the web more useful and more trustworthy for consumers," he says. "Consumers don't want to be shilled and they don't want payola; they want a web that they can trust. The FTC guidelines just say that material connections should be disclosed. From having dealt with these issues over several years, I believe that will be a good thing for the web."

How about the FTC regulates Google? How about that Matt? Just this week I found several websites set up promoting a high end shoe brand. How did I find these? From Google AdWords campaigns. But guess what? The ads themselves feature stolen creative from other retailers, the sites all play on trademarked names, and then when you go to them they all profess to be selling name brand merchandise for unheard of discounts. Why? Because the whole thing is a scam run from China and no doubt whatever you order is not real merchandise. This is the kind of "payola" Google is peddling to "consumers" right now - today! Sure, we'll take your pay per click money! Oh - you are fraudulently using other peoples creative, misleadingly trading off brand names, and selling fake merchandise... look - over there - a blogger!

Matt Cutts... give me a break!


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