FCC now requires disclosures for endoresements

Discussion in 'Monetization Techniques' started by David, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. David

    David Regular Member

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    Any see the news on this. The FCC now requires you to disclose your relationship to any product your promote, they're targeting bloggers here it seems mostly. The fine for any such violation is said to be 10k

    Personally I welcome this change. There are so many scum bag webmasters who promote products like they've used them, since they get so much commission but only to find out they're junk or a scam.

    Good Job FCC, finally something with consumer protection in mind.
     
  2. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    I also agree with the change. Hopefully it will get some of the bad advertising off the internet where you get a blog post that is nothing but a thinly veiled advertisement.
     
  3. cheat-master30

    cheat-master30 Grand Master

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    Out of curiosity though, how would this even apply for people who don't live in the USA? All I foresee are people outside said country taking advantage of less competition.
     
  4. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    Is your site hosted in the United States? A large portion are... Even if you're with a reseller in your country there is a high chance your server is physically located in the United States. If it hosted in the United States, then you need to comply with all United States laws and regulations.

    Do you target your website to residents of the United States? Chances are you do unless it serves a regional niche. If you target residents of the United States, than you need to comply with all United States laws and regulations.

    A quick check of your site shows it is hosted with Lunarpages. This provider is in the United States so you need to comply whether or not you live in the United States.

    As for targetting residents, the FBI just arrested 100 people in a phishing scam today. Some of those people were in Egypt. They will be brought to the United States and tried in the courts here.

    This ruling would be a regulation. This means that it isn't a law nor are there criminal offenses attached to this. In this case they will most likely get a judgement against you in civil court and then have your country enforce it. In civil court if you don't show up, you usually lose.
     
  5. cheat-master30

    cheat-master30 Grand Master

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    I know, I'm just curious. For example, what would happen if I changed the server of said site to outside the USA? I do not currently live there anyway. Besides, what exactly does 'targets people in the USA' mean? It's vague, most sites just target 'world in general', not region specific.
     
  6. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    Basically it means if one of your visitors is from the United States and lodges a complaint to the FCC, they can fine you $10,000. Plain and simple really.

    The process would go something like this:
    - They will file the complaint in civil court.
    - They will send you notice of the complaint to you via postal mail.
    - The complaint will receive a hearing date. You will be notified of this.
    - If you do not show up for the complaint and argue your side, a judgement will be entered against you.
    - The FCC will then send the judgement to the State Department which will notify the foreign office of the country you live in.
    - Depending on treaties, the foreign office will send you a bill or ignore the judgement. If the judgement is ignored then you will probably be forbidden from entering the United States until it is paid.
     
  7. cheat-master30

    cheat-master30 Grand Master

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    That's interesting, although I noticed a minor flaw with that... it's based on someone complaining. So wouldn't it more likely cause issues on sites which have a lot of enemies that do this than ones that everyone who visits would rather not report based on not wanting the site destroyed?
     
  8. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    Well if someone complains there is in investigation. They won't blindly file a complaint. So if the complaint has no basis it gets filed away and left alone. The FCC is actually a very reactionary agency when it comes to punitive actions but they do investigate issues properly. They can't sit there and monitor every television and/or radio show as well as every website.
     
  9. Michael

    Michael Regular Member

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    In these cases what does "product" mean? Will this mean we need to add somewhere on our site that we have ads (if they sell something) from Joe Bloggs and theyre such and such a company providing such and such? What do you actually need to declare too?
     
  10. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    This is really funny, magazines do not have to disclose when they get a sponsor, but all of a sudden joe blogger does?

    This is just a way for big business to squeeze the little guy.

    If one company has to disclose - they all should

    --edit --

    Will sites from the big companies have to disclose? Like this review of an ATV.

    4wheeloffroad.com/featuredvehicles/131_0905_2009_honda_big_red_review/index.html

    Will they have to put a disclosure statement in the article? Or will it only will the smaller blogs?
     
  11. David

    David Regular Member

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    I dont think it has anyone singled out, I do think they have some issues with who all falls between the "blogger" guideline.

    Does running a forum fall under this? What if you run a CMS for the front page?

    And I dont see how its going to squeeze anyone? It's just being up front and honest about a product review and only takes 3 seconds to type out "Hey when you buy this product using my link, I get XXX amount back" I dont think anyone that runs a reputable blog, or affiliate marketing program will lose any sales from this.

    Yes, I'm not sure if a sitewide disclosure will work, or if you have to put a disclosure at the end of every article. Hopefully its every article, as many scum bags will just bury a link deep on their site with the disclosure.

    I honestly believe that they are actually looking out for the end consumer in the long run on this one. Though, I'd like to get my hands on a copy of the bill or whatever for this to read the guidelines and see what exactly a "blogger" is defined as.
     
  12. Will.Spencer

    Will.Spencer Newcomer

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    Yet another regulation that the government can't afford to enforce. :mad:

    Quick, somebody hire another fifty thousand bureaucrats! :mad:
     
  13. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    How do you do a site wide disclosure on all kinds of products? Lets say that I have a hiking, camping, hunting blog - which I do. Someone sends me a hat, anther company sends me some hiking boots, another company sends me a camera,,,,,,,

    I make a video where I use the boots, and just mention the brand name - do I have to do a disclosure?

    Is the disclosure just for "reviews"? Lets say that I do a video about why people should have a first aid kit handy, and discuss some of the stuff in the kit, do I have to do a disclosure?

    Is the required disclosure just for "reviews?" Or is required for everything?

    Is the disclosure going to be for TV shows as well? Like if some outdoors show is supplied with clothes by a certain company, they have to disclose that? And in what form does the disclosure have to be make? Does it have to be made available for download, or just text on the last sentence of the article?

    Can I put the disclosure in the video, make the text so small that nobody can see it and just zip it by so fast that it gets 1/1,000th of a second exposure?

    The government might be looking out for people. In my opinion, this aint a good way to do it. They need to go after false advertising by huge companies, not joe blogger.
     
  14. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    All you have to do at the bottom of the article is place a footnote.

    XYZ provided by ABC...

    This is exactly how magazines and television do it now.

    They already have to disclose and have had to disclose for the last 30 years. Usually its in the credits or if a narrated show in the narration.

    "Special consideration by ABC"
    "Hotel Accomodations provided by CDE".
    "Captioning provided by FGH"
     
  15. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    Are those statements required by law, or are they a business agreement?

    Usually that is an agreement or in the contract. Some hotel provides a room, and in exchange they get their name mentioned in the program.
     
  16. Bryce

    Bryce Regular Member

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    Not to sound blunt, but anytime I see a link with a referral on the end, I always take it off before I visit the site. Now, if the product is very expensive and you get a discount for going to the referral link, I'll leave it, but I always check it out before using the referral link. Yes, I'm stingy with my money. I don't like giving others a piece of what I buy unless I need to to get my own discount on the product.

    On topic: I think it's bogus. You can recommend a product and not try it and it still be good. The person suggesting the product has their own view on it, how would that impact other's decisions? It doesn't, each person has their own opinions on how an item or service or whatever is and this crap shouldn't be happening.

    I'm all for getting the scams and crap off the net, but do it another way that doesn't force people to put these silly disclosures up and all.

    These are all my views and opinions on this matter, if you don't like it, just skip over my post.
     
  17. twhiting9275

    twhiting9275 Regular Member

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    What is the problem here?? Simply call them what they are, sponsors
     
  18. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    The ruling updates the broadcast and publishing disclosure rules published in 1980 to account for online media. That is all it does really.

    You can read about it more here:
    Interactive Online - FTC Rules To Fine Bloggers

    You can read the actual regulation here:
    http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005endorsementguidesfnnotice.pdf
     

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