by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 22nd 2008 11:44am
Back in June, we mentioned that the FCC was exploring whether or not to require any product placement be more clearly labeled. This didn't make much sense, as we couldn't see who was "harmed" without the disclosure and who was helped by it. It basically treats most people as if they're idiots who can't take into account that products seen on TV may have been paid for placement. It appears that Adam Thierer agrees, and has filed comments with the FCC questioning the wisdom of such a move. While some may insist that Americans are being "tricked" by this, it would seem like there should be some proof that there's actual harm before we go about regulating it. Also, there seems to be little recognition of the impact that reputation can have on this as well. With so many sites ready to pounce on any commercial action that appears to be trickery or misleading in some form or another, companies would be well-advised to be as upfront as possible in their advertising efforts. Those caught "tricking" consumers will feel significant backlash for their efforts, making it not worthwhile. It seems that this ability to shine an automatic light on questionable practices should limit the worst abuses of any "trickery."
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