Bloggers must now disclose compensationPosted: October 5, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Text | Leave a comment »
According to an article in today’s LA Times, a new federal regulation explicitly requires bloggers who receive cash or in-kind payment to review a product to disclose the fact that they were compensated. Such posts are considered an endorsement of that product. Bloggers are allowed to receive a sample of the product for review, provided that it’s not too expensive (e.g. like a car).
Personally I think it’s appalling that anyone would review a product for compensation and not disclose that fact. Who can trust a reviewer that gets paid by the manufacturer/establishment to write that review? I even think that it’s unethical (though it perhaps should not be illegal) to not disclose it when you get free samples, it’s hard to write a critical review when someone was nice enough to send you a box of cheesecakes (and yet, I think I managed to be so). But when you get paid? No way you will be objective.
Unfortunately the regulation does not have any penalties associated with it. At worse, the culprit can get a cease-and-desist letter and be taken to court if he does not abide by it. But how likely is that to happen?