Skip to content

You can buy a lot of wine for $11,000: Does the new FTC law fine bloggers who don’t report payment or gifts?

October 8, 2009

Twitterland and the Blogosphere has been hopping lately with news that the FTC is going to start fining bloggers (and presumably other social media users) who do not make it clear that they are getting paid to promote a product. Many wine bloggers who subsist on samples, free or discounted wine shipped to them by the winery or given to them by the winery will run the risk of getting fined if it is not clear that they’re blogging for wine, blogging for the wine industry, or paid in some way.

PLEASE NOTE: NO FREE WINE WAS CONSUMED WHILE WRITING THIS BLOG POST!

While there’s been a lot of whining amongst the winos I follow, as well as a general uproar, I think overall this is a good idea. I can usually tell when someone is pimping a product. But not always. And the general public is not as well versed in the sneaky ways of affiliate marketing and various nefarious schemes to make it seem like regular folks are writing about products.

Personally, I much prefer to say where, when, and how–and to know that transparency is the industry standard.

An article today by Jay Yarrow in the Silicon Valley Insider says that’s not what the FTC means. According to the article, “The assistant director at the FTC  overseeing this ruling, Richard Cleland, says that’s not true. He tells Fast Company:

That $11,000 fine is not true. Worst-case scenario, someone receives a warning, refuses to comply, followed by a serious product defect; we would institute a proceeding with a cease-and-desist order and mandate compliance with the law. To the extent that I have seen and heard, people are not objecting to the disclosure requirements but to the fear of penalty if they inadvertently make a mistake. That’s the thing I don’t think people need to be concerned about. There’s no monetary penalty, in terms of the first violation, even in the worst case. Our approach is going to be educational, particularly with bloggers. We’re focusing on the advertisers: What kind of education are you providing them, are you monitoring the bloggers and whether what they’re saying is true?

Mashable was one of the first sites to report on the FTC change.

http://mashable.com/2009/10/05/ftc-blogger-endorsements/

And here’s a selection of others who rapidly followed suit:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/opinion/08sicha.html?_r=1

http://ow.ly/t3Qg

In related news, a blogger temporarily lost her unemployment benefits in confusion on what kind of income she was receiving from Google Adsense:

http://www.mediabistro.com/mediajobsdaily/omgwtf/blogger_loses_unemployment_benefits_over_238_in_adsense_pay_139537.asp

It’s a new world out there. Watch your step!

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 9, 2009 12:25 am

    I think it’s a good idea too. Advertising should be marked advertising. Doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it’s just about honesty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Best Tanzania Travel Guides

from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti and beyond

LUCAS GILBERT

The Best Guide in Tanzania

Pull That Cork

Wine makes our life more fun.

The Writer's Den

A Community for Writers

Always Ravenous

Adventures in Food and Wine

Joy of Wine

"Wine cheereth God and man." -- Judges 9:13

Vineyard Son Alegre

Organic Wine And Olive Oil From Santanyí, Mallorca (Spain)

L.M. Archer

wordsmith | consumer, b2b + b2c

What's in that Bottle?

Better Living Through Better Wine!

ENOFYLZ

My humble wine blog

Jenny True

An excruciatingly personal food blog

foodwineclick

When food and wine click!

The Flavor of Grace

Helene Kremer's The Flavor of Grace

The Swirling Dervish

Wine Stories, Food Pairings, and Life Adventures

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Living La Vida Vino!

Dracaena Wines

Our Wines + Your Moments = Great Memories

L'OCCASION

a reason for wine

OkieWineGirl

A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

Sonya Huber

books, essays, etc.

THE GRAPE BELT

Drinking, Thinking, Cooking, Eating, Reading, Writing, Traveling, Talking ~ The Essentials of the Wine Life ~

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

poor mexican gone

Yesterday's stories shed light on the way forward

ROCKIN RED BLOG

A Song in Every Glass

Cindy Ross

Author | Speaker

trailtraveler

Get your copy of Mile 445 today at Amazon.com!

Laura Grace Weldon

Free Range Learning, Creative Living, Gentle Encouragement, Big Questions, Poetry, Occasional Drollery

From Insults To Respect

A Guide To Anger And Conflict Resolution

Wes Chyrchel

Consultant · Early Stage Advisor · Project Advisor

Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

Snarky. Cheeky. Grumpy. Dopey. Never Bashful.

L'esprit de Vin

A wine blog with food for thought...

The Wine Wankers

G’day, you’re at the best wine blog ever! We're all about wine; without the wankery.

Wine Verbiage

verbiage about wine & life

Small Epiphanies

A BLOG BY G.P. WAYNE

Reflections from a therapy room

Thoughts about writing about thinking

the drunken cyclist

I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.

%d bloggers like this: