New guidelines released by the Federal Trade Commission say bloggers must disclose any money or freebies they receive in exchange for writing product reviews.
The Wall Street Journal
It’s 7:35 a.m., time for me to start tapping out the fresh, insightful content that’s known the world over by readers of Gerbil News Network. I turn on my Dell desktop–for personal computing to small, medium, large, extra-large or XXL businesses, Dell Solutions come fully stocked!
I’ve poured myself a cup of Starbucks new Ready Brew Instant Coffee, made with the highest-quality 100% arabica beans. Bleh–it’s awful, but of course I can’t say that on my blog, not if I want to keep the product samples and Starbucks “Bearistas” stuffed animals coming.
I scan the pages of the morning papers, looking for some quirky, off-beat news items I can twist into a fictional extrapolation that will be misinterpreted by a literal-minded doofus in New Zealand or Bayonne, New Jersey. Ah–just the thing! The Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that never rests in its quest to find something–anything–to justify its existence, is going after bloggers who fail to disclose compensation they receive from their subjects.
I look around my office. There’s the Lizard of the Month calendar I got from the Komodo Dragon Society of America. Is the FTC going to begrudge me that little lagniappe? I should hope not.
There’s this month’s Cat Fancy Magazine–the annual Kitten-Up-a-Tree Rescue Issue. Let me tell you, it breaks your heart to see those little guys stuck high above the pavement, staring fearfully down as a ladder truck snatches them before they fall. I can’t believe some junior bureaucrat at the FTC is going to go after my free subscription at a time when so many American industries have been reduced to an oligopolistic handful of predators.
There’s my Don King Chia Pet, a joint promotion of Joseph Enterprises and King’s Only in America Productions, which I received for blogging about the Halloween Thrilla “Fright Night” fight between Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko and No. 1-Ranked mandatory challenger Yohnny “El Colombiano” Perez. You can hardly say that little trifle has affected my coverage of King, the greatest boxing promoter in the history of mankind and quite possibly the universe. Did I mention that he’s a sharp dresser, too? And the guy he pistol-whipped back in Cleveland–well, if you’re going to play the numbers, you’d better be ready to pay up when you lose.
I maintain a “bright line” between the reporting and the business sides of my blog. When the monthly $1.05 check comes in from Google Adsense I have no way of knowing which ads readers have clicked through. I write without fear or favor, and never hesitate to complain if the cover of a Mariah Carey CD fails to adequately disclose her, uh, endowment.
No, this time the government has gone too far. They’ll take away my Kate Spade for Men Tote Bag, a handy carry-all that’s both stylish and convenient–when they pry my cold dead fingers off of its colorful red handle.
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