FTC Becoming Online Big Brother, Bloggers To Feel Wrath

Seems the Federal Trade Commission wants to become the regulator of the web. They have weighed in on behavioral targeting and is ready to set up rules. Now they are ready to start setting rules for bloggers - particularly payola blogs that get paid for reviews or recommendations of products.

The bloggers should have been aware of this coming as it has been discussed before. As the Associated Press reported they plan to monitor blogs for payments.

One has to wonder when they will look at copy written to attract Adsense. True, "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." But more write content to make money through Adsense.

Self-regulation by bloggers is being recommended, but then again that is how the behavioral targeting people have been talking.

Sadly, yet realistically, both groups are not doing much to get these rules in place and the FTC is getting ready to actively step in. The FTC already bans deceptive and unfair business practices. and it seems they seek to expand those laws by including bloggers.

The BT people have to deal with the issue of privacy - something the web seems to ignore at times - but with targeting of ads by watching individuals' web activity this goes to an area that really make people uncomfortable.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.