Bloggers take note that on December 1st 2009 new rules will come into effect.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have updated guidelines on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The new rules state that bloggers, celebrities and social media users must disclose compensation they receive from a company whose product they review. Companies are also responsible for making sure that endorsers make such disclosures.
The edges of the blogosphere are a bit blurry at the moment because it’s a new media landscape out there. We are all finding our way. Individuals, who are blogging for a multitude of different reasons are increasingly finding that their opinions are being invited to merge with companies, advertising agencies and PR companies.
There is a divided opinion about how the blogosphere should work and I suspect there always will be. Who knows where it is all going. How things will work in the future. I’m not a journalist, I have never claimed to be. I am just a single mother of three writing about stuff – big and small, who has inadvertently found herself in a list of top 20 “British Parent Bloggers”. If that means that I can use my blog to good effect; if it means that all our little voices collectively work together to make one big noise in order to promote change or offer support, share jokes, or meet up to go on rollercoasters…then I am all for it.
I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect transparency and disclosure from bloggers when they have been asked to review or promote something that has been sponsored. I wouldn’t want to be taking any money for products or places that I may be writing about unless I had made it absolutely clear. But I’m not going to decline all offers because it is considered unethical. I’m just going to try and most the most of an unusual situation, be honest and enjoy the ride while it lasts.