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  1. #1
    Newbie twicks's Avatar
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    New FTC Regulations
    What are everyone's thoughts on the new FTC regulations stating that you must disclose you received a product for free or are being paid to review it in your blog?

    I know there is a lot more to these new rules than that as well, I'd love to discuss how it is going to effect the future of affiliate marketing.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Member eSilverBullet's Avatar
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    I think it is setting a double standard by treating online media and offline media differently. Offline media has dealt with this issue through self-policing, and I think it works pretty well.

    For example, if you walk into the Salt Lake Tribune's newsroom you'll see a large table along one wall that is stacked with books, DVDs, CDs and other products that manufacturers and marketers have sent to the Trib hoping to get a review. It's a symbiotic relationship because the entertainment reporters rely on those to do their jobs, and the marketers enjoy getting any coverage they can. The reporters don't mention in their stories that they received those products that they are covering. Because even though the products were sent to the paper freely, the reporters don't get to keep those products for free.

    The Trib places all those products on the table with a price. That way any reporter at the paper can buy those products for a reduced price.

    That said, a single blogger self-policing herself is not the same as a large news organization doing it. As a reader, I know news reporters are interacting with the products they are reviewing. So I would appreciate knowing the same about bloggers. I would respect a blogger for disclosing that relationship.

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Bullet
    I think it is setting a double standard by treating online media and offline media differently. Offline media has dealt with this issue through self-policing, and I think it works pretty well.
    No double standard, traditional news organizations and bloggers alike are expected to report and review products and services ethically. The advantage that traditional media journalists have over bloggers is that many (most?) majored in or had some exposure to journalism classes in college, including "Ethics in Journalism". I think it's safe that many (most?) bloggers probably started down another career path before becoming bloggers and for many, bogging is a part-time activity. In either case they may not be familiar with the "Truth in Advertising" laws that are already in place.

    As I mentioned in this post, Truth in Advertising laws have been in place since 1980, the fact that so many bloggers are either unfamiliar with these laws or simply choose to ignore them is an indication that greater enforcement is necessary.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  5. #5
    Member eSilverBullet's Avatar
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    The advantage that traditional media journalists have over bloggers is that many (most?) majored in or had some exposure to journalism classes in college, including "Ethics in Journalism".
    That's true. I certainly had to take a media ethics class in j-school.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager BlogBonnieBlog's Avatar
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    It is an interesting fine line though. About 10 years ago i created a product sold to scrapbookers. I can definitely tell you that it did make a big difference on whether or not you gave product to those writing and reviewing products for articles in the craft magazines. They have whole rooms with "donated" items and most manufacturers were hoping that theirs would get picked. Interestingly, you could definitely see products more prominently placed in editorial features from manufacturers that also advertised in the magazine.

    I'll be most interested to see if anyone will clamp down on income claims from all of the affiliates selling courses and products who do not use "*Results not typical" type disclaimers in their emails when they make income claims. I cleaned hundreds of them out of my email box this weekend.

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