Blogging for Payment- The New US Rules

Blogging for payment or a free trip has always been a little tricky area for me. I have tried to disclose such trips and posts as openly as possible. So when I read this Blogger Payola News at the BBC yesterday that in the US it is now desired that you disclose such linkage I was not too sure what to think of it.
Then I read Robert V. Kozinets blog on the same topic I thought I would share it here.

In a long-awaited, long-anticipated ruling that surprised no one who was watching,the FTC today decided to recognize the fact that bloggers and other social media types can be celebrities, that celebrities can be social media users, and that both can be paid endorsers without being acknowledged as such online (or off).Without providing any concrete details, the new guidelines legally require bloggers to clearly disclose any “material connection” to an advertiser, including giving actual payments or free samples for an endorsement. They also hold bloggers and others responsible for telling the (gasp!) truth about their product experiences.

But what I am wondering about is (and as I have said in a comment on his blog) what happens when one of the party writing the review is outside the US. Like this post of mine about Lands End Luggage?

11 thoughts on “Blogging for Payment- The New US Rules”

  1. I have read this piece. In a flat world issues like these are bound to emerge and it is not the only one. Underlying issue in this case is the revenue (or loss of it). Taxation laws all over the world are still not able to create a clear and concise guidelines for taxation of services created on web or delivered through web or OFC. The problem is that most of the servers are located in US whereas uploading is done from world over.Your Server is located somewhere in Utah, USA but you are uploading from here.It is better writing practice to make a disclosure about any subsisting relationship. However, since you are an Indian citizen and blogging from India for presumably a global audience you are exempted from that. Unless Indian government tows US line in this matter.

  2. Hobo, I didn't quite get you.Tarun, in that post I have already disclosed that the bag is given to me free of cost. But then it is news to me that the server is somewhere near Utah (though now that I think why should it be so surprising!) given that Gonomad hosts my blog. Thank you for the comment.

  3. I do not think laws in the US would apply to India. I think the amount involved is also not big. Maybe if larger amounts are at stake they may block a particular site in the US

  4. Namita the BBC article talks about fines up to the tune of 11,000 dollars for violation but not blocking.Tarun thanks for letting me know about the firefox application.Shrinidhi I would really enjoy reading a well thought out report on it from you for sure.

  5. I guess besides financial implications, it may also be a matter of ethics. Financial disclosures would help evaluate the conflict of interest aspect.

  6. I believe as of now parties outside the US aren't covered. Cyber laws in India need to mature and that too soon.I agree with VS that ethics should take center-stage here. Even if as a blogger, one chooses do to a paid preview, it must be after the service/product being advertised has been tried personally.

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