FTC Plans to Monitor Blogs

On the Yahoo news site, there is this very interesting article on how the FTC plans on monitoring blogs for any type of ads, free services or prizes, or other types of perks.

According to the article,

Savvy consumers often go online for independent consumer reviews of products and services, scouring through comments from everyday Joes and Janes to help them find a gem or shun a lemon.

What some fail to realize, though, is that such reviews can be tainted: Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post. Bloggers vary in how they disclose such freebies, if they do so at all.

The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online. The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer — and getting commissions for any sales from it — would be enough to trigger oversight.

There are blogs concerned with librarianship that are clearly linked to a corporate entity, the OCLC RSS feeds for example. Here they list their own services. However, many library blogs don’t have tons of or any ads. But this still raises the question of if blogs will be monitored, will their content be as well. And,  will this affect peoples decision to share or not information via a blog if the FTC begins monitoring?

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