Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coming FTC Guidelines for the Blogosphere

An interesting update today on PRSA Issues & Trends from Business Week covers an ethical debate on the blogosphere: Is it okay to blog about something a company has “gifted” to you? It’s a smart tactic. Instead of just sending an e-mail touting your product’s great qualities, send the product to the blogger and let them try it for themselves and then hopefully write a fantastic (and seemingly objective) product review. Blogs are often a go-to place for people with similar interests who want their peers’ advice.

This tactic may come to an end soon though with a coming set of Federal Trade Commission guidelines designed to clarify how companies can court bloggers to write about their products.

According to the article, “This summer, the government agency is expected to issue new advertising guidelines that will require bloggers to disclose when they're writing about a sponsor's product and voicing opinions that aren't their own. The new FTC guidelines say that blog authors should disclose when they're being compensated by an advertiser to discuss a product.”

Another way to deter bloggers from taking the company’s bait? Google will penalize you for paid blog entries by demoting your blog in its search results.

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