Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Full Disclosure

with 6 comments

It’s a good thing the U.S. Federal Trade Commission released its new changes to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising yesterday.

They were last updated in 1980, and, well, the world has changed a little bit since then.

With the new guidelines, bloggers, in particular, are impacted.

Moving forward, bloggers who fail to disclose they have received freebies when they write about a product can now be fined up to $11,000 per post.

For the record, the last freebie I remember getting was a really cool FlipVideo camera at the Search Engine Strategies Conference, from the search metrics firm Covario.

However, I didn’t blog about it, so I’m probably being overly transparent here.

However, it sounds like with these new guidelines, that’s the order of the day.

While I’m at it, I may as well go ahead with some other full disclosures.

In the 1980s, I listened to Rick Springfield…and actually liked some of his songs.  REO Speedwagon, I can honestly say, I hated just about every song.

I was a member of the Future Farmers of America, and in fact, was the actual president.  I’m sure I’m the only FFA president who wore Van Halen t-shirts and topsiders.

I went to rodeo school once, way back in 1982.  The horse threw me and dragged me around the Kowbell Arena in Mansfield, Texas, and thus ended my illustrious rodeo career.

When I lived in New York City, I was a bicycle messenger on two separate occasions, and got hit by three different cabs…including the last one which “doored” me and sent me in my only ambulance ride to Bellevue hospital.

When I was in Paris once, I ate at a McDonalds (although I have to say, they took the Egg McMuffin and really made it their own — it was the best Egg McMuffin I’d ever had, and McDonalds is definitely not paying me to say that).

Worse yet, that particular McDonalds was literally down the street from Le Louvre.

I also ate at a McDonalds in Tokyo (it was the cheapest breakfast I could find), and their Egg McMuffins weren’t bad, but not nearly as good as the French.

The fact that the French make a better Egg McMuffin than we do in America is definitely worth the price of full disclosure, which in this case is nada, zip, zero.

I still smoke cigarettes, mostly when I drink and heavily when I’m traveling in Europe and Asia, not nearly as much back on the home front.

My favorite domestic beer is Budweiser, which in the spirit of full disclosure can’t, I don’t believe, still be identified as being a domestic beer since Anheuser-Busch was bought by InBev.

My favorite imported beer would probably be a three-way toss up between Westmalle, Bass, and Guinness…and for the record, I’ve visited Belgium, England, and Ireland.

My new favorite blogging software is the one I’m currently blogging on, WordPress.  WordPress apparently doesn’t charge me anything to use their blogging software, but they also don’t pay me anything to say good things about them.

I’ll be sure to tell you if that changes anytime soon.

Written by turbotodd

October 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Todd, A nice post, and I love your disclosure, may do that myself on our sites. This “double edged sword” issue has so many implications. As an “A” lister for some time, I guess I have watched this come about, and even helped it come about to an extent.

    For most bloggers I think it is not altogether a good thing, but for some? Well, obviously someone had to get a handle on them. Mommy Bloggers in particular have added fuel to the fires of doubt about their publication’s credibility.

    On the other end, the small time blog where honest and usable information was once part of “the voice” of the Web? Well, they do not have the resources to hire a team of lawyers to keep them out of trouble. Pushed out by mainstream media? Maybe.

    Any way, just ran across you great posts, and wanted to chime in is all. Keep up the informative an often entertaining posts.


    Phil Butler

    October 7, 2009 at 6:14 am

    • Phil, thank *you* for the comment, and glad you enjoyed the disclosure. I think I, too, have mixed feelings about the increased government regulation. On the one hand, I think we need to have more transparency, and if it takes regulation to bring more sunshine into the blogosphere, then it’s probably worth the heavier hand. On the other, however, I worry that we may start to see in these United States intrusion into our First Amendment rights with these moves, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see some cases emerging from these regulations ending up in a courtroom

      As for the small fry, you’re absolutely right in asserting they many won’t have the legal resources that may be required to defend their reputations….pushed out by the mainstream media (MSM), huh? Great MSM conspiracy at work? Too many blogging minnows nipping at the MSM’s heels??


      October 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

  2. Turbo, gotta love full disclosure… This topic has also been of interest at the Integrated Marketing Summit in KC. Virginia Miracle touched on it in our SMM panel, and Bryan Person (from LiveWorld Austin) will discuss at tomorrow’s KC Social Media Club breakfast meeting. You and Bryan should meet…

    Rebecca Butler Mona

    October 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  3. Rebecca, thanks for the input, and I’ll keep an eye out for Bryan. I actually had the opportunity to attend a Word of Mouth Marketing Association webcast today (as I know many bloggers did) on the topic of disclosure in the social media, and will be addressing this on my Weekly Web Marketing update with the WW team tomorrow. Enjoy some steak or BBQ there in KC!


    October 8, 2009 at 9:11 pm

  4. Hilarious! I HAVE to link to this from my blog as prime example LOL


    October 9, 2009 at 3:13 pm

  5. love it. Will attempt the same soon.


    October 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm

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