According to two Associated Press reports appearing on MSNBC.com and Yahoo! Finance, federal trade commissioners have voted 4-0 in favor of requiring bloggers to disclose any compensation received for writing product reviews. The new rules, which would take effect December 1, would impose fines up to $11,000 for violations, and may require bloggers and sneaky advertisers (who give money and freebies to bloggers in exchange for positive reviews).
While the wheels have been set in motion for today’s decision since last November (in fact, deceitful advertising practices like these have been banned since 1980, but new revisions include bloggers in the verbiage), the FTC has yet to concretely outline a plan for oversight.
Which has me, a fellow with blurry eyes from reading hundreds of reviews written about ONE hotel in Miami, wondering exactly how the FTC hopes to enforce this.
Well-paid bl0ggers like Dooce.com’s Heather B. Armstrong—whose product reviews can have significant impact on the market—are obvious targets for this rules revision, but what about the Wikipediites, the Yahoo! Answerers, the Amazonian Review Squads? How will the FTC manage to discern the conscientious consumer with a compulsion to give unsolicited opinions from the paid advertising agent mole on the comment rolls of blogs and forums?