FTC Fining Bloggers?!?! FTC: OMG. WTF?
No sooner do a write a post about voluntary, good blogging procedures (yesterday) than I read today in Mashable “FTC to Fine Bloggers up to $11,000 for Not Disclosing Payments.” Fining. Bloggers. For. Not. Disclosing. Payments.
Read that again. I’ll wait. Heck, you can even read the article. I’ll still wait.
Everything that I wrote about yesterday were guidelines for being a successful blogger; they are not rules mandated by an overly intrusive regulatory body with apparently little better to do. What’s more, I disagree strongly with the author’s (Adam Ostrom) premise that:
..this is an update that’s time has come. While most well-run social media programs already include appropriate disclosure, there’s still no shortage of unscrupulous marketers using deceptive practices to sell products. Now, with the threat of serious fines, those who look to push the boundaries of ethical blogging will be doing so at their own risk.
Yeah — and I suppose that the whole CAN SPAM Act worked out really well too, huh? And timeshares are a great deal? And infomericals are about really solid products?
Premise #1: If you are online and want to be devious, you’ll find a way to get around the law.
Premise #2: If you are prominent and have a considerable following, the overwhelming likelihood is that you will not want be a complete ass clown and ruin your name.
Trust me; most people who do not disclose paid relationships are stupid, but you can’t mandate common sense — and most definitely should not on the federal level. For God’s sake, when I see Peyton Manning and Eli Manning schilling for DirecTV while watching football, are we doing to require a disclaimer that says that are paid for the engagement? When I hear a radio host drone on about his GutterHelmet, do I imagine for one moment that he is not being paid? How is it that bloggers have now been elevated to the level of political candidates for disclosing payments?
Has the blogosphere has become so powerful, so pervasive and so devious that the federal government has to track down and fine bloggers? I sincerely hope that our government has better things to do than to save us from ourselves.