On a personal note, I’m completely floored by the fact that everyone who has written up the FTC blogger rules today has completely ignored the very extensive coverage I did over at SiliconANGLE almost three weeks ago, here at Rizzn.com, and the well formed opinions folks like Sean P. Aune and Steven Hodson have put out there on the topic.
Still, a trending topic on Techmeme today meant another round of articles that make the rest of the blogosphere look like goldfish (you know, because of the short memories).
The folks on the walk of shame, this time around?
- PCWorld: FTC Eyes Blogs for Conflicts of Interest
- Ars Technica: FTC to crack down on undisclosed “sponsored” blogging
- My friend Frederic Lardinois at ReadWriteWeb: FTC Plans to Regulate Blogger Freebies
- Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim: Should You Fear the FTC’s Sponsored Blogging Crackdown?
- The Toybox: FTC to go after product reviews bloggers who accept freebies
- Techgeist: FTC To Make Blogging Better – Disclosure Coming
- The Friggin’ AP: FTC plans to monitor blogs for claims, payments
- Windows Connected: FTC to crack down on bloggers.
I had a conversation with Andrew Feinberg (a fellow contributor at SiliconANGLE as well as a deputy editor over at Broadband Census) this evening on the
law proposed guidelines – something that he surprisingly seems to support wholeheartedly (much to my dismay).
Neither one of us seemed to be able to move the other from their respective position. I guess because he views these moves by the FTC as a “a drunken, groping lurch in the right direction,” and I just feel as if I’ve been molested by a government agency.
So it’s clear – I’m not advocating non-disclosure in blogging. I am advocating that it should be my free choice to squander my reputation if I like.
The blogosphere, though, is a self-regulating system. Big brother doesn’t need to come in and enforce anything. If you squander your reputation on selling your opinion, then you have no authority or audience. It’s the blogosphere. It’s how it’s engineered. Everyone’s voices get through, particularly when there’s scandal (and payola is always scandal), and if you’ve created scandal, your audience will find out from your competitors.
Call it deputizing the middleman, free market, or meritocracy – whatever term you use for it is semantics. The fact is, it just works. The decentralized and social nature are what makes it work, and it in part relies on basic human instinct to seek out scandal to keep it functioning.
Look, we’ve been bloviating on paid posting as a scandalous behavior for going on six years now – half the life of the blogosphere by most counts – and it’s still a hot topic. If that isn’t an indicator of a system that works, I’m not sure what is.
I guess it comes down to (as someone who has blogged for longer than I care to remember) a feeling like when your parents come lecture you on something you very clearly already know.
“Son, let’s talk about the birds and the bees…,” Dad starts in.
"Daaad. I heard the birds and the bees talk when I was 11," comes the inevitable reply. “Besides – I’m 30 now.”
Yeah, it’s just like that.