Relax. You have been protected. No longer must you languish in uncertainty about whether I or anyone else who reviews a book, a film, or food is doing so for professional reasons with a reputation to build and maintain, or just for the goodies.
The Federal Trade Commission will try to regulate blogging for the first time, requiring writers on the Web to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.
The FTC said Monday its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final Web guidelines, which had been expected. Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews.
For the record, I think that if you want to build and maintain a reputation, then such disclosures are certainly a good idea. I think it’s good that you get to wonder, even question, and that it’s my job over time to work for a good reputation. Well, whew… now I can just dispense with all that work.
Thanks to being protected from your own stupidity, lack of discretion and discernment in the Federal Trade Commission’s eyes, you no longer get to see the difference between good business practices, values, and virtues, and plain old slimy operators.
Virtue has been taken out of the picture. Everyone’s just gonna follow the law, now. Isn’t it wonderful?