Athletes Can Start Endorsing A Brand In Hours… But A Blogger Does It And It's A Federal Issue?

from the hmmm... dept

As the FTC still wants to stick by its questionable guidelines concerning bloggers “endorsing” products, I found it interesting that the NY Times was profiling a new online service that more easily allows brands to sign endorsement deals with star athletes. Basically, they just need to fill out a few forms, and within hours, that athlete may be the face of the local car dealership. Now, I don’t see anything wrong with this, but I’m curious as to why this is somehow okay, but when a blogger fails to mention that he or she got a book for free, the FTC will consider fining them? Does anyone actually believe that the star football player shops at the local Ford dealer?

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Comments on “Athletes Can Start Endorsing A Brand In Hours… But A Blogger Does It And It's A Federal Issue?”

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77 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, it’s pretty simple:

If you are paid by a company to work for them, to promote them, or other, and fail to disclose it while talking about them, you could mislead people into thinking your opinion is unbiased – when in fact, you are getting paid (or receiving some other form of compensation).

Now, an athlete standing in front of a camera, giving an interview, say a NASCAR driver, saying “The Bubble Gum Chevy ran great today” while wearing a suit that says “Bubble Gum” on the front of it, next to a car that says “Bubble Gum” all over it isn’t in the slightest misleading.

Heck, even your “moron in a hurry” type person could see the difference.

zaven (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I kinda have to agree. For the most part, it’s usually accepted that when a athlete is doing a commercial for a product, they are being paid to do it. It seems like it’s the other way around and they feel the need to say so when they AREN’T being paid to endorse the product.

I’m not sure I get the comparison at all though between bloggers disclosing that they were given a product for free, and a service which helps athletes make money by setting them up with endorsement deals though? Seems like a great idea.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“It seems like it’s the other way around and they feel the need to say so when they AREN’T being paid to endorse the product.”

This is exactly the point. An endorsement that isn’t being purchased is obviously worth more than someone just paid to say ‘this is great!’. When appearing in an ad, it’s assumed the actor/athlete/whoever was paid for their time. Bloggers aren’t appearing in ads, they are just writing and commenting. Athlete’s get endorsement deals so that they will actually use the products (Nike shoes, golf clubs, etc). That shows people that the ‘pro’ is using the product – and athletes get fined if they are found to be using something else too. We don’t get to see a blogger using a specific printer or piece of software.

Since a blogger is commenting on products, it’s perfectly reasonable to require disclosure that they were or weren’t paid (whether cash or free goods) to get that comment posted.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Disclaimers about paid cash are one thing, to me, but freebie products are routinely sent out to be reviewed in a number of industries, and I think it’s a grayer area there.

The publishing business, for instance, sends free copies of books to newspapers to be reviewed all the time, and some of those books get blasted. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that no major book reviewer pays for the books they review….ever. But we find a reviewer who we trust through trial and error and somehow we don’t regularly get hosed on their recommendations.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Books and other published materials are a different thing. Once they are ‘read’ they don’t really have value anymore. Reference materials etc perhaps an exception, but the ‘use’ is a much more one time type thing. I also think the publishing industry has much more strict, no pay for play, traditions which have been learned over many years. Blogging by nature is very decentralized and not subject a larger controlling industry.

Reviewing something means having it in your possession. The duration of that possession becomes the issue.

If a car reviewer was given a free car to continue to use after the review was complete, that’s a pretty big bias in play.

If the bloggers simply try out a device and then give it back, there isn’t any issue. It’s the continued use of the freebie they are reviewing that causes the appearance of loss of objectivity.

Luci says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I disagree that a novel somehow loses its value just because it’s been read. Just because the story has been ‘consumed’ once does not mean that it no longer has value to a person. I would even submit that you, too, have read and re-read a given book a number of times.

The fact is that to many of us a good book increases in value after it has been read. A story that makes us sit and think, or sparks the imagination, is one that we want to read again and again, and thus increases in value.

This only holds true for certain books to certain people, sure, but then we all have our own tastes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In fact, it’s probably fair to say that no major book reviewer pays for the books they review….ever.

That’s fine. And as long as they send it back before they publish their review, they shouldn’t need to bother to disclose that either. But, if they’re accepting the book as a personal gift then I think they should disclose it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Disclaimers about paid cash are one thing, to me, but freebie products are routinely sent out to be reviewed in a number of industries, and I think it’s a grayer area there.”

I am a 3rd party reviewer for a bunch of large publications. I review a lot of gadgets and tech toys. Typically I get to keep them. One of the most notable was my review on the PS3 when I removed the HDD, installed linux on it and booted to linux from a PS3. Obviously the Kernel was compiled specifically for the hardware.

SONY did not like it and made me return the PS3 stating that I had no intention of giving them a good review. I made it clear to them when they sent it to me that I will review the product the same way I review everything. Fair and impartial. I’ll even postpone my reviews by a couple weeks sometimes if I am having difficulties with a product, just to gain additional data.

I have never heard of anyone being jerked around by the FTC on any of this.

Bri (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“If you are paid by a company to work for them, to promote them, or other, and fail to disclose it while talking about them, you could mislead people into thinking your opinion is unbiased – when in fact, you are getting paid (or receiving some other form of compensation).”

There’s your problem. News outlets have no obligation to the truth and as such, there is equally no obligation to remain unbiased.

Anonymous Coward says:

How is radio handled? Listening to talk radio, all I hear from the hosts are commercials from them plugging EVERYTHING; gold, pest control, kitchen cabinets, kitchen counter tops, real estate, cars, etc. etc. etc. Not once have I heard any type of disclosure.

Did the host get a free or price reduced car to plug the dealership? Did they get a free timeshare to plug that shady land deal? These commercials run many times an hour. I’m sure that the host is compensated, but it’s never overtly stated. If the host then mentions the product outside of the commercial in an offhand way (during regular programming) should they be required to disclose at that time that they are a paid shill?

If a host talks about the coming collapse on a financial show, do they need to temper that with a disclosure that they also recorded a commercial for gold?

Seems like it’s the wild west of promotion out there, but only blogging is getting the spotlight for some reason.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Answer

Mike:

When you start dunking from the freethrow line, hurling sixty-five yard passes, throwing low and outside sliders in the dirt to whiff Albert Pujols, or slide in front of a puck bulleting towards a net at 100 mph, let’s revisit this discussion, shall we?

Hell, I’ll even take you hopping on one foot for two full minutes while patting your head and rubbing your belly…

Darker Helmet says:

Re: Answer

>When you start dunking from the freethrow line, hurling
>sixty-five yard passes, throwing low and outside sliders
>in the dirt to whiff Albert Pujols, or slide in front of
>a puck bulleting towards a net at 100 mph, let’s revisit
>this discussion, shall we?

In other words, when Mike takes half his brain and 90% of his IQ aways and reduces himself to being a trained ape, you will listen to him.

Interesting… because so much progress in today’s soceity comes from sports.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Answer

“In other words, when Mike takes half his brain and 90% of his IQ aways and reduces himself to being a trained ape, you will listen to him.”

Exactly.

Have you ever watched those trained monkeys? They’re AWESOME! I will by anything the monkey with the symbols tells me to buy.

I hear he’s been shilling an automatically calibrating SRC3000 sarcasm detector. Maybe you should look into one…

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Answer

Yeah, but have you heard of the plans for the SNRK-Max6669? Feature set includes:

1. Afore mentioned micro-eyeroll detector
2. Snark sniffing wetware
3. Voice inflection inspection detection and correction
4. Auto laugh prods that force you to laugh if the device detects you failed to laugh at an appropriate time
5. Autodeath inducer for corny jokes

John Doe says:

Say it ain't so?

You mean Tiger Woods doesn’t actually drive a Buick? Why would a young, star athlete not drive an old man’s car? Oh sure, he probably has a dozen sports cars but surely there he has a Buick somewhere in his garage? Maybe tucked away for retirement?

Seriously though, I think most people realize that athletes are lucky to be able to spell the products they endorse much less use them. But I also agree that bloggers don’t necessarily have to disclose when they receive an item for free or a fee either. They should disclose it for the sake of their reputation, but I think most people would assume they don’t necessarily pay for everything they review.

JustMe says:

I think most people are morons

And they truly don’t understand about paid endorsements.

But let’s turn AC’s comment around…

Bloggers, who take the time to review some random product generally aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their heart. I expect that most big-time bloggers with polished websites (and ads), the type who get a lot of traffic and are ranked high in search engines, are in it to make a couple of bucks. We all understand that.

Sure, there are people out there who run blogs about their favorite hobbies and stuff, but even a moron in a hurry doesn’t think that Mike is shilling NutraFabSoylentGreen because he lost 30 lbs and grew a full beard overnight. They know that he was paid to shill NutraFabSoylentGreen.

So what is the difference? Mike’s point is that the FTC is treating two classes of people differently.

Jakdor (profile) says:

Have I missed the point....?

Perhaps the world has passed me by….but why would say a Tiger Woods or indeed any celebrity endorsement persuade you to buy a product……I buy what I buy because the product works for me and fulfills the task I require of it in the form that I require. The fact that said sportsman can ‘dunk from the freethrow line, hurl sixty-five yard passes or putt a 65 footer after a 350yd drive’ means sod all frankly. Accomplished as they may be in their own ‘arena’, what added cachet would owning a product endorsed by them bring, apart from the tag ‘sucker’, since said product will be 20x over priced to pay their huge fees : Vis – Gillette Razor Blades –

As for a blogger endorsement….more than likely it would be done from the heart and ‘own experience’ thus a tad more believable and reliable.

But hey…why take away the fun from the FTC…. I mean, what else have they got to do all day…… Sorry, but sarcasm is all that comes to mind on this point…..

Brooks (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We’re all trained monkeys, thanks.

And some might argue that when Steve Jobs tells people to buy something that he’s invested millions of dollars in (personally, even, considering his stock position) and which he’s been involved in the development of, it just might have more weight than when an athlete who has never even seen a particular car dealership endorses it.

Same’s true of Balmer, Ellison, etc. They’ve got vested interests, of course, but they are at least domain-knowledgeable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ugh

Mike, you’ve got to lay off some of this stuff that you’re so personally invested in. It makes for poor posts.

1) This is a new service. It took the FTC 10+ years to look at blogs. Maybe they will regulate this service. I personally don’t like the FTC’s blogger rules in either letter or intent, but it’s ridiculous to whinge that the FTC hasn’t yet moved on a service that appeared six months ago.

2) When an athlete endorses a car dealership, everyone knows the arrangement. The FTC was concerned (maybe wrongly) that blogs blur the line between news, editorial, and paid shilling. It is kind of a different thing.

3) Weren’t you the one going all morally indignant when Pandora started suggesting that its competitors should be subject to unfair regulation? Didn’t you write a lot of stuff about how they disappointed you were that they were lobbying to have unfair treatment applied to others rather than fighting the unfair treatment they were subject to? Pot, meet kettle.

I love Techdirt. The XKCD CwF + RtB (you’ve got to get a catchier acronym) article made my morning. You do good work. And then sometimes you come across as not a lot better than the people you criticize. Please stop writing about issues that directly affect Techdirt unless you get can get some distance, ok?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Ugh

1) This is a new service. It took the FTC 10+ years to look at blogs. Maybe they will regulate this service. I personally don’t like the FTC’s blogger rules in either letter or intent, but it’s ridiculous to whinge that the FTC hasn’t yet moved on a service that appeared six months ago.

I’m not saying the FTC should regulate this service. Just the opposite. I’m saying it’s silly to impose regulations.

2) When an athlete endorses a car dealership, everyone knows the arrangement. The FTC was concerned (maybe wrongly) that blogs blur the line between news, editorial, and paid shilling. It is kind of a different thing.

Does everyone know the arrangement? Yes, you and I do — but many people assume that they legitimately are interested in that product.


3) Weren’t you the one going all morally indignant when Pandora started suggesting that its competitors should be subject to unfair regulation? Didn’t you write a lot of stuff about how they disappointed you were that they were lobbying to have unfair treatment applied to others rather than fighting the unfair treatment they were subject to? Pot, meet kettle.

Yes. Exactly. But… um… there’s no pot/kettle thing here. I’m saying that the regulations are silly and don’t make sense. I’m not saying anyone should be more regulated.

Please stop writing about issues that directly affect Techdirt unless you get can get some distance, ok?

This doesn’t effect Techdirt, because we don’t do reviews/endorsements etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ugh

2) When an athlete endorses a car dealership, everyone knows the arrangement. The FTC was concerned (maybe wrongly) that blogs blur the line between news, editorial, and paid shilling. It is kind of a different thing.

Does everyone know the arrangement? Yes, you and I do — but many people assume that they legitimately are interested in that product.

You’re really being absurd now. I’d say there are very, very few people who wouldn’t know that a celebrity in a commercial for a car dealership was probably paid for his/her endorsement. In fact, it’s so absurd I’m going to have to mark this one for future reference.

This doesn’t effect Techdirt, because we don’t do reviews/endorsements etc.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091019/103942.shtml

Also, I’ve sometimes wondered if you have any investments in competitors to some of the companies you disparage.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ugh

This doesn’t effect Techdirt, because we don’t do reviews/endorsements etc.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091019/103942.shtml

That’s neither an endorsement nor a review. It’s a case in the Insight Community, where it’s clearly disclosed who the sponsor is. What, exactly, is the problem there?

Also, I’ve sometimes wondered if you have any investments in competitors to some of the companies you disparage.

I don’t do any direct investing. All of my money is either controlled by a financial adviser who has it parked in some mutual funds, or is in index funds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ugh

That’s neither an endorsement nor a review.

It seems to me that it might at least fall under the “etc.” part of your statement.

It’s a case in the Insight Community, where it’s clearly disclosed who the sponsor is. What, exactly, is the problem there?

If the sponsor is clearly disclosed, then there *isn’t* a problem. See how that works?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Ugh

If the sponsor is clearly disclosed, then there *isn’t* a problem. See how that works?

Um. You were the one insisting that these rules would change what we do. And, yet, this shows that we do in fact clearly disclose.

I’m at a loss. What’s your complaint? I said from the beginning that disclosure makes sense, just not FTC requirements for disclosure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Ugh

Um. You were the one insisting that these rules would change what we do.

Um, no, that’s just not true. I never made any such claim and you should know so. I’m really disappointed to see you stoop so low.

And, yet, this shows that we do in fact clearly disclose.

Good, keep it up and there shouldn’t be a problem with that.

I’m at a loss. What’s your complaint?

If you’re really thinking I wrote things I didn’t, then I can see your confusion.

I said from the beginning that disclosure makes sense, just not FTC requirements for disclosure.

Yep, you’re all for disclosure, as long as it’s optional.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Ugh

Now, in your death throws, answer Mike’s question and tell us who you work for, you hypocritical, translucent fuck….

Mike hasn’t asked me who I work for, so where’s the hypocrisy? But just to satisfy you I will tell you that I have no sponsor and receive no compensation for my posts in the form of money, gifts or otherwise.

And you better be careful with that ACB Gone, you might get a little on *yourself*. Or is the helmet supposed to offer protection?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Ugh

“Mike hasn’t asked me who I work for, so where’s the hypocrisy?”

Hmm, well, I could certainly be mixing up my ACs. That’s the problem with anonymous commentors, even though I support anonymous speech. Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, he eats you.

“But just to satisfy you I will tell you that I have no sponsor and receive no compensation for my posts in the form of money, gifts or otherwise.”

Not an answer to my question, actually, but if you’re not my favorite Weird Coward or Anonymous Harold then I’m no longer all that concerned.

“And you better be careful with that ACB Gone, you might get a little on *yourself*. Or is the helmet supposed to offer protection?”

I admit to a bit of hypocrisy on this one, though that’s because I am more interested in being able to attribute a series of comments to a single source rather than not knowing which AC is commenting where (like in this exact case, apparently).

However, I would gladly unmask the helmet and give the site my real name if my favorite anonymous coward did as well…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Ugh

…I am more interested in being able to attribute a series of comments to a single source rather than not knowing which AC is commenting where (like in this exact case, apparently).

Even if posts appear to be made by different “registered” users, you still don’t know that they’re actually different people and you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. That’s because Techdirt doesn’t do the kind of identity investigation/verification that would be necessary to ensure that people can’t have multiple accounts.

Brooks (profile) says:

Ugh

Mike, you’ve got to lay off some of this stuff that you’re so personally invested in. It makes for poor posts.

1) This is a new service. It took the FTC 10+ years to look at blogs. Maybe they will regulate this service. I personally don’t like the FTC’s blogger rules in either letter or intent, but it’s ridiculous to whinge that the FTC hasn’t yet moved on a service that appeared six months ago.

2) When an athlete endorses a car dealership, everyone knows the arrangement. The FTC was concerned (maybe wrongly) that blogs blur the line between news, editorial, and paid shilling. It is kind of a different thing.

3) Weren’t you the one going all morally indignant when Pandora started suggesting that its competitors should be subject to unfair regulation? Didn’t you write a lot of stuff about how they disappointed you were that they were lobbying to have unfair treatment applied to others rather than fighting the unfair treatment they were subject to? Pot, meet kettle.

I love Techdirt. The XKCD CwF + RtB (you’ve got to get a catchier acronym) article made my morning. You do good work. And then sometimes you come across as not a lot better than the people you criticize. Please stop writing about issues that directly affect Techdirt unless you get can get some distance, ok?

Call me Al says:

Personally I think that if someone is reviewing a product and offering an opinion on whether I should buy it or not then they should disclose to me if they are being paid by them or their competition.

Having said that I can see that there is an element of double standards at play here in regards to the athletes. However, as someone above said, it is generally very clear that athletes are being paid for their services in those cases. I would rather FTC and their ilk didn’t get involved in this because I’d find it pretty patronising and frankly people should be smart enough to figure it out for themselves.

Steven (user link) says:

I write about 100 book reviews a year, I get most of my books free. I don’t disclose it on every post, and I don’t always give glowing reviews. Now I get so many free books If I am really not enjoying it I tend not to finish it or review it. If it is really bad I will write a negative review without finishing it but state that in the review. However these rules are coming down not from book reviews but from large ticket items, TV’s, cars … that review sites are getting for free and then if they want to keep getting stuff they need to write glowing reviews. I have never had a publisher ask for a specific review (All press is good press). I have however had authors ask me to remove my negative reviews from my blog and amazon. Some even lobbied amazon or were amazon press books and had them removed from that site.

My 2 cents worth.

sondun2001 (profile) says:

Not The Same

Yeah man, I agree with the other posters. It is understood an athlete or celebrity is is being paid. A blogger goes into details, and for the most part, readers assume it’s an unbiased review of a product, and will greatly influence there decisions to purchase such product. I don’t ever take a commercial / athlete endorsement serious on making purchasing decisions, besides maybe becoming more aware the product exists.

Reveal and Revel says:

Re: Not The Same

The problem?

Mike would have a fair bit of disclosure to do here, I think. There are plenty of companies who pay him (fee, or travel, or other) to speak or to work for them, some of which come up in discussion here. It would change the tone dramatically if he had to mention that the person he is talking about is “a partner of techdirt” or “has hired me for public appearanced” or “has published my articles in the past” or “employs me as a consultant”.

These are all very key points in the process, it would change the nature of many of the posts here. My feeling is that Mike’s whining on the subject may have to do with the changes he would have to make to stay on the good side of the law.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not The Same

Mike would have a fair bit of disclosure to do here, I think.

Nope. Not true. We do all the disclosure necessary.

Mike would have a fair bit of disclosure to do here, I think. There are plenty of companies who pay him (fee, or travel, or other) to speak or to work for them, some of which come up in discussion here.

This is also not true. The few companies that I have done speaking gigs for have never been companies I’ve spoken about here. Most of the speaking I do is at conferences.

It would change the tone dramatically if he had to mention that the person he is talking about is “a partner of techdirt” or “has hired me for public appearanced” or “has published my articles in the past” or “employs me as a consultant”.

Nope. Wouldn’t change the tone in the slightest (we have done disclosure messages when appropriate and it’s never been a problem), but it’s incredibly rare, because there’s almost never any sort of disclosure issue at all.

These are all very key points in the process, it would change the nature of many of the posts here. My feeling is that Mike’s whining on the subject may have to do with the changes he would have to make to stay on the good side of the law.

Nope. Not a single change needs to be made. I’m not sure why trolls continue to insist this must be the case.

Guess it’s because they have no real argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Not The Same

Mike, example: How many people have you written about here who are also part of CwF project? How many people do you write about who have hired you for a speech or presentation? Has Wired or any other magazine paid you for work? Would discussing some of the things Chris Anderson does with HP perhaps be off limits because HP is also a major corporate supporter of Techdirt?

Can you see that a little bit?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not The Same

Mike, example: How many people have you written about here who are also part of CwF project?

The people who were involved in the CwF + RtB project were all clearly disclosed, and the project did not involve us getting freebies. Everyone involved was involved because we approached them and asked them to be involved, because we liked what they were doing, not because they paid us anything or gave us anything free.

How many people do you write about who have hired you for a speech or presentation?

None.

Would discussing some of the things Chris Anderson does with HP perhaps be off limits because HP is also a major corporate supporter of Techdirt?

Huh? I don’t know what Chris Anderson does with HP at all. And HP advertises on the site (representing significantly less than 1% of our revenue — so hardly a “major advertiser”), but has no say in editorial and never has. Again, there’s no disclosure here. Do newspapers “disclose” every time an advertiser in their paper is also in the news?

You’re really reaching here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Not The Same

Mike, you miss the point, it isn’t just about getting freebies. If this was only about freebies, it would be simple.

However, let’s say you have someone, Doctor X, who is part of CwF. He writes a book, and you liberally quote from it, link to it, and generally say he has a clue. Now, you didn’t get a free book, but you have a direct business relationship with Doctor X. So every time you talk about Doctor X, you would need to disclose that relationship.

It’s just like CNBC mentioning their relationships, when talking about other companies owned by their parent, or people who are also CNBC contributors. It isn’t about a freebie, it’s about allowing readers know.

As for Chris Anderson, he appears to do some work for HP, HP pays techdirt. Didn’t HP do some work with your think tank thing?

It isn’t about advertising revenue, it’s about other revenue streams that may exist, perks offered, whatever.

For that matter, what about Cybearsonic or whatever it is called? Anything you publish in the future about them would almost certainly have to be tagged as “paid to be one of our think tank cases” or something similar.

Don’t think of it as just a questions of freebies. That isn’t the whole deal.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Not The Same

However, let’s say you have someone, Doctor X, who is part of CwF. He writes a book, and you liberally quote from it, link to it, and generally say he has a clue. Now, you didn’t get a free book, but you have a direct business relationship with Doctor X. So every time you talk about Doctor X, you would need to disclose that relationship.

Why? I’m serious. Every time a newspaper writes about a company that advertises in the paper, do they need to disclose that? I notice you ignored this when I asked earlier.

In the meantime, who are you and who pays you? Based on your reasoning, you are violating those same disclosure rules by not clearly identifying.

It’s just like CNBC mentioning their relationships, when talking about other companies owned by their parent, or people who are also CNBC contributors. It isn’t about a freebie, it’s about allowing readers know.

Indeed. That’s why we do disclose stuff like that whenever it makes sense.

As for Chris Anderson, he appears to do some work for HP, HP pays techdirt. Didn’t HP do some work with your think tank thing?

How the hell am I supposed to know what Chris Anderson does? HP has advertised on the site and used the Insight Community twice. That has nothing to do with editorial.

It isn’t about advertising revenue, it’s about other revenue streams that may exist, perks offered, whatever.

Sure, and if THERE WERE ANY, we would disclose.

For that matter, what about Cybearsonic or whatever it is called? Anything you publish in the future about them would almost certainly have to be tagged as “paid to be one of our think tank cases” or something similar.

Again, why? While I might disclose anyway, mostly to show how being a part of the program helped them out, if it’s just a news story… what difference does it make?

Don’t think of it as just a questions of freebies. That isn’t the whole deal.

And that’s the problem, isn’t it. The FTC’s rules are not at all clear.

You are violating your own interpretation of them, by not disclosing who pays you.

okwhen (profile) says:

Full disclosure

I read the 28 comments and some of them were quite good. I totally agree that receiving compensation for endorsements, mandate full disclosure. Corporations spend billions on advertisements per year and without results, this would stop. Are people stupid, you bet? However, these corporations secure top scum-sucking parasites A.K.A “Non ethical scum-sucking parasites psychologist” that mind screw the lower intelligent animal A.K.A the average shopper.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Full disclosure

I read the 28 comments and some of them were quite good. I totally agree that receiving compensation for endorsements, mandate full disclosure.

Indeed. I believe that full disclosure makes sense, but that doesn’t mean it should involve the FTC. I think that if a blogger regularly blogs about stuff he got for free then his credibility will be dinged because of it.

I’m all for disclosure, just not the way the FTC is doing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Full disclosure

Indeed. I believe that full disclosure makes sense, but that doesn’t mean it should involve the FTC. I think that if a blogger regularly blogs about stuff he got for free then his credibility will be dinged because of it.

OK, well lets get rid of the laws against hot checks, counterfeit money and fake credit cards. If someone goes around regularly passing such stuff then their credibility (credit rating) will be dinged because of it. No laws needed. [/sarcasm]

I’m all for disclosure, just not the way the FTC is doing it.

Yeah, you’re all for disclosure, as long as it’s optional.

okwhen (profile) says:

Full disclosure

I read the 28 comments and some of them were quite good. I totally agree that receiving compensation for endorsements, mandate full disclosure. Corporations spend billions on advertisements per year and without results, this would stop. Are people stupid, you bet? However, these corporations secure top scum-sucking parasites A.K.A “Non ethical scum-sucking parasites psychologist” that mind screw the lower intelligent animal A.K.A the average shopper.

Anonymous Coward says:

Has anyone actually read the new regulations or did you stop when you hit the word “blogger” and start posting. Bloggers are specifically mentioned, but the new guidelines apply to all persons or organizations that endorse any product. It must be disclosed that they were compensated to endorse the product. This to say that you were paid or otherwise compensated for saying that you like these “widgets”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Financial Advisers

I see the slippery slope here. Next someone will be telling us that financial advisers and others that go around reviewing and recommending, for example, stocks should have to disclose it if they are also being given free stock in the companies whose stock they are recommending or whose competitors they are disparaging. That’s just absurd!

known coward says:

Re: Financial Advisers

Actually financial advisers are suppose to disclose if they are recommending stocks and investements they either have postiions in, or have relationships with the company.

I think the FTC is right here, there is a difference between editiorial content and advertising content, and that needs to be made explict.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Financial Advisers

Financial advisors who recommend stocks in print already do disclose if they have a financial interest in the company. Most don’t own stock in companies they review to avoid conflict of interest.

I’m not sure the laws regarding financial advisors who recommend stock to their clients, but I do know that clients who lose money from bad advice have sued.

Let’s just say that in the financial industry, if you don’t provide full disclosure for everything you do, you run the risk of getting yourself in trouble.

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Nobody says:

I think there needs to be a way to distinguish what are essentially advertisements from legitimate reviews of products. If someone is compensated in some way by a company, they will probably have a more favorable outlook towards that company and it’s products. I think that bloggers getting free units to review is irrelevant when compared to magazines that give a inferior product excellent reviews to keep advertisers happy.

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