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      I am unintersted in “hope.” Or as we called it in the Obama bullshit years, Hopium. Hope is not a plan. Hope is bullshit. Luck is real, but you don’t count on luck other than in the sense that the harder you work, and the more things you do, the more likely you are to […]
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Bloggers, FTC regulations and disclosures

Blogging is just easier on a Mac

Blogging is just easier on a 15" MacBook Pro (wish I had one)

Ruh-Roh, we’ve been caught.  The FTC recently passed new regulations on bloggers.  From now on, if someone gives us something to review or asks for our endorsement of a product for some kind of renumeration, we have to admit it up front.  I know, I know, you’re probably wondering why the FTC wasn’t on top of this during last year’s primary season when Markos turned DailyKos over to the Obama campaign, no questions asked.  I mean, at least Josh Marshall was up front about taking money from the Obama campaign.  He plastered Obama ads on virtually every page and dutifully set to work trashing Hillary at every opportunity like the paid shill he was.  But, whatever, there’s no time like the present:

The F.T.C. said that beginning on Dec. 1, bloggers who review products must disclose any connection with advertisers, including, in most cases, the receipt of free products and whether or not they were paid in any way by advertisers, as occurs frequently. The new rules also take aim at celebrities, who will now need to disclose any ties to companies, should they promote products on a talk show or on Twitter. A second major change, which was not aimed specifically at bloggers or social media, was to eliminate the ability of advertisers to gush about results that differ from what is typical — for instance, from a weight loss supplement.

For bloggers who review products, this means that the days of an unimpeded flow of giveaways may be over. More broadly, the move suggests that the government is intent on bringing to bear on the Internet the same sorts of regulations that have governed other forms of media, like television or print.

“It crushes the idea that the Internet is separate from the kinds of concerns that have been attached to previous media,” said Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University.

Richard Cleland, assistant director of the division of advertising practices at the F.T.C., said: “We were looking and seeing the significance of social media marketing in the 21st century and we thought it was time to explain the principles of transparency and truth in advertising and apply them to social media marketing. Which isn’t to say that we saw a huge problem out there that was imperative to address.”

Yep, we dim bulbs in the blogosphere have to be schooled in ethics in advertising.  Actually, I was stunned to discover that companies will actually send bloggers stuff, for free, in order to get a review from them.  What could be more mutually satisfying?  The company gets a (relatively) unbiased review from a real person not working on Madison Avenue and the blogger gets to review free stuff.  Lots of it, apparently.  For example:

About three-and-a-half years ago Christine Young, of Lincoln, Calif., began blogging about her adventures in home schooling. It led to her current blog, FromDatesToDiapers.com, about mothers and families. The free products soon started arriving, and now hardly a day goes by without a package from Federal Express or DHL arriving at her door, she said. Mostly they are children’s products, like Nintendo Wii games, but sometimes not. She said she recently received a free pair of women’s shoes from Timberland.

Well, for your information, no company or politician has ever given us anything to review or endorse.  (With the exception of Eric Boelert’s book, The Bloggers on the Bus, which I dutifully read and enjoyed and disclosed.)  We’ve been doing all of this  for free.  All that stuff we said about Hillary?  Straight from the goodness of our hearts.  We just liked her.  It never occurred to us to ask for anything in return, except for excellence in governance had she been elected.  That just goes to show you how naively altruistic The Confluence is.  And we like it that way.  Because we can say whatever we like and are not accountable to anyone.


But just to be clear that we are totally on-board with the new FTC regulations, we would like to assure companies that have been holding back their products from us, that we will fully disclose any relationships with companies for products we receive and any money offered to us for endorsements as we have in the past and will do in the future.  If you are a company or institution that would like to send us free stuff for our unvarnished truth, please contact us.  Of course, we won’t take free stuff from just anyone.   We’re easy but we’re not cheap.  Here is a handy list of stuff we will review:

  • Cars
  • Houses in New Urban developments in NJ, KS, LA, CA, MA and Berlin.
  • Private Schools in NJ such as Lawrenceville, Pennington, Peddie and Hun
  • Running shoes (for over pronators with heavy heel strikes)
  • Workout clothes
  • Electronics (anything Apple for sure)
  • Clothing, size 10, M, shoes size 8 (Donna Karan, Ellen Tracy, Calvin Klein)
  • Furniture (specifically chairs, sofa tables, lighting fixtures)
  • Home improvement stores that retail bathroom vanities, mirrors, ceramic tile flooring, etc
  • House cleaning services
  • Season tickets to the NY City Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, NY Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders
  • Airline food (must be on flights to and from points outside of the continental United States, preferably Asia, South America, Australia and Africa)

Ok, we’re open for business.

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