Head of Interactive Advertising Bureau Challenges New FTC Rules

Yesterday Randall Rothenberg, head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, published an open letter to Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission highlight what he calls “a grave concern” with regard to the new Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (PDF). In particular, Rothenberg says that the Guides are unconstitutional because they treat other media outlets like traditional radio, cable and television networks differently from social media outlets. Rothenberg's letter echoes a concern I raised in my post as well. Namely, I said this:

I’ve also been wondering why all this fuss is being made about bloggers and social media users, when television shows are filled with undisclosed sponsored product placements. They are not required by law to disclose that the product I see on my screen was placed there only because the manufacturer paid thousands of dollars (or more) for the privilege. (Are they?) This seems unfair to me.

It's good to know that others have the same concerns. As small and independent business owners, our blogs typically supplement our main businesses. We are usually not “bloggers” in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, we are in another industry entirely, yet we use blogs to supplement our marketing efforts. We are, in effect, a subset of the blogging industry, which is a subset of the traditional media industry. Without a trade organization to represent our unique interests, it's good that other organizations share the same regulatory concerns.

It will be interesting to see how all of this evolves.

Question: What do you think? Do you think your blog should be treated different from traditional media outlets.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.