Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Watch Out Corporate Bloggers, FTC is on to you!

Now not only am I bashing corporate bloggers (Some may even call me corporate) Now the Federal Trade Commission has gotten into the game. It turns out that the FTC is on to the game of freebies for good blogging.

So to all of you who took free Navi or 23andMx or DeCodeme scans in hopes of them getting good press on your blog, you may have some issues. At least if you are in the US.....

From the Yahoo News

What some fail to realize, though, is that such reviews can be tainted: Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post. Bloggers vary in how they disclose such freebies, if they do so at all.

The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

So what does this mean for the genomics blogging world? A ton. I remember many, I mean many bloggers getting free kits. I also remember many people writing glowing reviews. I also know that the corporate blogs have been "inferring" things about what a genome scan can and cannot do........

The Sherpa Says: Just another case of government coming in and regulating for the protection of its citizens. Because of their commoners inability to sift through bull$h!t and hype. Time will tell what these new powers will do to the blogging community. I wonder what it will do for Twitter??? Wouldn't the government save a lot of money if they just made marketing illegal?


Arnab said...

I'm confused. How is allowing a blogger to use the service any different from sending a sample of a product to someone, for review?

A "free kit" isn't the same as a "freebie perk." You don't accuse a technology blogger of a conflict of interest because he got a sample of the hardware he's reviewing, without paying for it.

I agree that if 23andMe were offering perks, such as these trips to Europe (where do I sign up, btw?), that would be a necessary disclosure. But if all they're doing is sending out a kit and saying "try it and tell the world what you think," then there's no disclosure required.

Steve Murphy MD said...

Take it up with the FTC, not me. I am certain they will consider those who have received free "anything"