Real quick summary: the FTC wants to keep an eye on blogs to see whether we’re trading favorable reviews of products for financial reward – which doesn’t sound so bad, until you consider that this apparently includes things like Amazon Associates links.
But they would need to think twice if, for instance, they praise parenting books they’ve just read and include links to buy them at a retailer like Amazon.com Inc.
That’s because the guidelines also would cover the broader and common practice of affiliate marketing, in which bloggers and other sites get a commission when someone clicks on a link that leads to a purchase at a retailer. In such cases, merchants also would be responsible for actions by their sales agents – including a network of bloggers.
Going down the list:
- Ed Morrissey suspects a political aspect. The administration’s reputation precedes them, you see.
- James Joyner doesn’t suspect a political aspect, but he used the word ‘insane’ a lot.
- Aaron Brazell apparently thinks that this is an appropriate extension of existing marketing rules, and that affiliate marketing is ‘borderline seditious’ anyway. Err, OK?
- Daily Danet mentions that he’s not getting any of this sweet, sweet blogger swag. Something that popped into my head, too*.
- And I’m guessing that this is going to be Glenn Reynold’s roundup post. Might as well link to it now.
My personal opinion? The FTC doesn’t have to want to muck up our lives in order to successfully muck them up. Always assume that any regulation or law that can be used inappropriately will be used inappropriately, whether or not malice was intended.
Also: buy stuff at Amazon Associates. While you still can!
*I got a used copy of a book mailed to me once so that I could be up to speed for a conference call. Whoopee.
Crossposted at Moe Lane.