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FTC Blogging Ruling - Much Ado About Nothing

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I am not a fan of government intervention - In case the rest of this blog did not give you a clue. So when I came across the Q and O article entitled

"BREAKING: Government Figures Out how to Shut Down Blogs" I was naturally worried. Blogs as a whole are a major source of news and analysis and will often report stories that the mainstream publications are slow to pick up on. The FTC ruling in question indicates that a blog must disclose when they receive anything for free in relationship to their blogging. The Q and O article can be best summed up by the closing paragraph

The main thing to remember here is that free speech is not nearly as
important as protecting the public from some blogger who doesn’t
disclose that he got a free review copy of the book to read, in order
to write the review. And, of course, you’re all too stupid and venal
to protect yourselves from the danger to the republic that freebies to
bloggers represent.

The purpose of the FTC ruling as I read it is to eliminate confusion between paid endorsements (no matter how that payment is made) and honest reviews. The gist is if you are receiving some sort of reward (even a free copy of a program) you should indicate that in your review. This type of disclosure is one of the reasons people were up in arms about the David Pogue review of the new OSX release Snow Leopard. Mr. Pogue stands to make a fair amount of money selling books about using Snow Leopard, and this could potentially effect his New York Times Review of the product. Its not that folks don't trust Dave, its just that his potential profit in making you wan't to run out and buy a copy of Snow Leopard should be disclosed.
This is no different then celebrities who need to indicate when they were paid for their endorsement, and to be frank, I don't mind this sort of disclosure. I think the Q and O article in this case is a bit overstated. Contrast the "End of Blogosphere" attitude at Q and O with the position of Search Engine Watch which acknowledges there is some grey area's in the disclosure definition (for example ad networks may place targeted ad's on a blog which now would be obligated to disclose that) but generally thinks this is a good thing for the reader. In the long run I expect that the targeted ad's aspect of the regulation will be resolved by some legal fine print at the bottom of the page.