Months ago, the FTC began investigations into advertising on blogs. The early investigation has led to a rather strange outcome. Originally intended to examine the use of viral media in advertising, the investigation has led to recent news that the FTC will be requiring bloggers to provide full disclosure regarding any freebies they receive and then help promote.
I must have missed a boat, somewhere. The blogs I read disclose just about everything. They talk about the companies that sent them free stuff. They talk about what they received, their thoughts on the product, and whether they would suggest it to other people. Then, they talk about having received the stuff, some more. Apparently, there is a super-secret blog cabal of people hiding the fact that they receive products for testing and marketing.
I've always been of the mind that if someone asks me to check something out, or provides me with some product because they like what I've done, I should help them out, too. One good example is the Swim Smooth instructional video. I posted a You Tube video from the producer, and he noticed the traffic coming from my site. To help me better understand his teaching methods, he sent me the full video. I've used it for years, and benefited greatly from it. So, I keep a link to their site on my Training Partners page. Hopefully, others have seen the value of the program and purchased it.
In the interest of "full disclosure," let me say that every single link on that page is to some company that has benefited my endurance career in a positive and worthwhile manner. Sometimes, that benefit has a very limited cash value. In others, the product or service was of much greater value.
But the "worth" of their assistance goes far beyond dollar values. That's what the FTC may have missed.
I'm waiting to see more details of the FTC guidelines. Perhaps the entire situation has no bearing on my blog. Perhaps the fines they are discussing are only for serious violations involving significant dollar values and no disclosure. Perhaps I'm overreacting.
As I said, I must be missing something, somewhere. Are there bloggers out there making a living off "freebies" and hiding those associations from the world? Are there people promoting items they are unwilling to identify as freebies?
I just have to wonder if the FTC might have better things to occupy their time. Maybe not.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.