FTC Adds New Rules For Bloggers & How Grandma, Greenpeace, A Church, And Tea Parties Could Get Nailed.


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FTCThe FTC or Federal Trade Commission has issued new rules for Bloggers, i.e. that means you!

Now depending on your view point, some would say this is good in that it will protect naive or stupid gullible consumers depending on your point of view, while others would say this is just yet another intrusion into your privacy and saying that you are too stupid to chew gum and surf the Internet at the same time.

Basically what they are doing is saying that they are going to start monitoring Bloggers to see if they are getting any type remunerations or spiffs from anything that you may endorse on your site. Now they mention as an example of Entertainers getting freebies for endorsing things but it also covers virtually everyone.

Here is how Grandma could get busted as it is worded now.

Lets say Grandma Abby is writing about knitting, and she happens to have her act together with her Blog, Grandma Abby’s Knitting Secrets has thousands of readers world wide.

Now she absolutely loves Acme Knitting needles and writes about them occasionally and has been using them for 50 years.  Well Acme Knitting Needles heard about this and sent her a whole batch of them to for  her to try out and keep.

Grandma Abby thought this was really nice of them.

They also gave her an affiliate link to post on her blog so that she could make some money to buy yarn too.  Grandma thought this was even nicer.

So, Grandma writes a blog about a new technique that her Grandmother taught her and mentions that she thinks Acme Knitting Needles are still the best and she is using a new model and how great they are for that doing a Moss or Box Stitch.

While Grandma is out at her weekly Knitting Bee, a bunch of people read her Blog and her story and they then click on the Acme Knitting Needles link and Grandma makes some money.

Technically under this new Ruling, Grandma Abby could go to jail and face and $11,000 fine for not disclosing this material connection with Acme Knitting Needles each time someone purchased those needles.  Acme could also be fined.

Kind of cool huh?

They do not explain exactly what this means for Affiliate Marketers.

Now hopefully this law won’t get abused and they say it is for consumer protection but there seems to be some big gaping holes in it that could be abused by whichever party is in office at the moment.

Here are two examples.

How Laura and Greenpeace can get nailed.

1. What if  Laura a dedicated Left Wing Blogger writes about pushing forth a Bill to save the Yellow Bellied Salamander of San Francisco Creek and Greenpeace pays for her trip and she has a donate to Greenpeace button and she does not disclose that Greenpeace paid for her bus ticket, under the rule, there is nothing to say that she could not get nailed for it and so could Greenpeace.

How Patty, Her Church and The Tea Parties can get nailed.

2. What if Patty a caring Mom, a Tea Party Member arranged for her Church to use their bus to go to a Tea Party to protest the new Health Bill which will cut 500 million from Medicaid that her Knitting Grandma relies on. After the trip, Patty posts a link to make donations to the Church without disclosing that the Church paid for her trip.

Under the rule Patty and the Church could end up fined.

Now do I think that the FTC put this out there so that they can nail people? Absolutely not, but there are some big gaping holes in it that could be quite easily abused if they do not provide further clarification.

Here is a link.  And NO, I am not receiving any remuneration from the FTC for doing this.

Did anyone hear of the Notice of hearing for this?  They had to have taken place but they mention that only two people responded on some things.  What is up with that?  They could have gotten a thousand responses I would have thought.

Anyway here is a link to the FTC post about it.

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

Here is a link to the Federal Registry of the Actual Rule. All 81 pages of it.

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005endorsementguidesfnnotice.pdf

And along the same lines, here is my official disclosure to readers of this site.  I might make a few bucks from some of the products that I speak about on this Blog.  That is if I could only remember to go get a darn affiliate link for them and use it.  🙂

Have I gotten anything for free yet? No, I do not think so.  But then again that is really a good idea.  So if you have anything that you want to send me for free to try out, go ahead and send it.  I will find out a what the FTC needs as far as a disclosure and post it.

Hopefully you will not have to have a 1,100 word disclosure agreement for a 300 word blog post.

I know that the FTC probably has the best intentions with this but you know what they say about the road to hell.

Do you think people are too stupid to figure out that Bloggers may make money from endorsements and have to be warned?  Do you think this is a good thing or is it just another government intrusion?

And, what does this mean for affiliate marketers?  Guess we will have to find out….

Let me know what you think.