This being the blogosphere and all, there was lots o’ reax yesterday to the announcement that the FTC will fine bloggers $11,000 if they “endorse” products they received for free. According to the FTC, an endorsement is the same thing as a review, which is nonsensical, but these are wonks we’re dealing with.
In theory, the practice is meant to discourage things like “mommy bloggers” who get literally thousands of dollars worth of products which they then plug. Also corporate blogging disguised as independent reporting and so on.
The whole thing seems murky and draconian to us, but you know, in theory review copies are also taxable income, so the bottom line is that journalists — who are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars just for getting out of bed every day because their services are so much in demand — need to report all those perks. Amazon listings are also being looked at, so even that tiny pittance someone is making might be a problem of some kind.
Some reax: Johanna has the willpower not to title her post “TOLJA!”.
Caroline McCarthy, who reports that even Twitterers must make disclosure statements in 140-character tweets. Nor is Facebook exempt.
This doesn’t actually affect us at all because a) we don’t run many reviews of comics, anyway. (Mops and soda, yes, but we buy those.) and b) Since we’re hosted on the PW site, we’re presumed to be professional and ethical and all that. As we wrote long ago, we detest those “complimentary copy” disclosures, but apparently everyone is assumed to be an amateur now.