Monday, June 22, 2009

FTC to Regulate Blogs?

Certainly sounds plausible. The idea that someone, somewhere, might be making an unregulated buck is abhorrent to our betters in Washington. This is doubly true for small businesses. Good for lawyers and bureaucrats however.

That said, why haven’t I gotten a free cruise? While the Boring Made Dull cannot be bought, both short and long term leases are available.

There’s certainly a case for more disclosure, though I would have thought that the presence of ads on someone’s website would imply that money was changing hands. I doubt that there are many folks who believe that websites host ads for free.

This bit is more troubling:

“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.”

That mouse click you just heard was the sound of Amazon disconnecting the affiliates the second they are deemed responsible for content on their affiliate's sites.

I doubt that any blogger is making a killing through affiliate marketing, but it’s probably a handy source of some revenue for a lot of people, if only to mentally justify the hours spent blogging. Killing the affiliate programs will restructure online business away from the small operators.