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Bloggers must disclose payments for endorsements

Grant Gross | Oct. 6, 2009
The new rules would affect bloggers who get free gadgets to review

Product reviews are often a valuable public service, he said. "People want information about products and services," he said. "Advertising and endorsements, even sponsored endorsements, play an important role in getting that information to consumers."

The rules also hold advertisers liable for misleading statements made by endorsers and paid reviews, he said. "This is just a scale that is fundamentally different from how this has worked in the past," Szoka added.

But blogger and broadband consultant Craig Settles said the new rules are good policy. The FTC has no right to limit reviews that aren't paid for, but paid reviews fall into a different category, he said.

"Blogging has taken on increased importance among businesses and consumers, and certain bloggers develop celebrity-like status, meaning their credibility can influence product and service sales," he said. "If I pick up a check to write specifically about the company's product in any medium including blogs, that isn't free speech. At my rates, far from it. My opinions in that blog environment are part of the company's marketing message. And at that point, the laws regarding deceptive business practices ... come into play."


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