Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is one of two posts today involving (U.S.) federal law with fiction-writing sidebars. In this article, the (U.S.) Federal Trade Commission is now paying attention to bloggers, particularly the ones who are paid or otherwise compensated for publishing product or service reviews on their blogs. At issue is the assumption by consumers that opinions on blogs are independent and therefore trustworthy. This is far from the truth for many bloggers. I recently read a "search engine optimization" (SEO) book that covered websites and blogs. There are quite a few bloggers or blog networks that write articles for hire and link those articles back to the promoted product or service. For some, this lowers the credibility of the review.

This Yahoo News article on bloggers suggests that the FTC's recent interest in bloggers suggests some future liability for this practice:

The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

The connection with writers? Most can't help themselves; they gotta blog or die. Some bloggers are thinking about monetizing their blogs with ads, reviews and such. According to the article, there is some worry that the coincidence of a banner ad from an ad service that happens to appear while a related review has been posted constitutes risk.

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