Tuesday, 6 October 2009

BBC NEWS | Technology | New rules to end 'blogger payola'

US regulators will for the first time crack down on bloggers who fail to disclose fees or freebies they get from companies for reviewing products.

The Federal Trade Commission, FTC, decided to update its nearly 30 year old guidelines to clarify the law for the vast world of blogging.

Offenders could face eventual fines of up to $11,000 (£6,900) per violation.

The updated policy on how advertisers can use endorsements will also apply to celebrities and research firms.

Until now, bloggers had not been covered by the guidelines - something which had concerned consumer groups. They had argued that for a long time that the links between some bloggers and companies were not always totally transparent and clear for readers.

"Consumers are increasingly dependent on the internet for purchase information," said Jack Gillis of the Consumer Federation of America.

"There's tremendous opportunity to steer consumers in the wrong direction."

There is nothing in the new rules about how disclosures must be made.

"That's left up to the endorser," said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's division of advertising practices.

"It can be a banner, part of the review. The only requirement is that it be clear and conspicuous."

BBC NEWS | Technology | New rules to end 'blogger payola'

No one has really ever given me anything for any of this.
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