Thursday, October 8, 2009

Genealogy and History Thoughts Column 19 - My Thoughts on the New FTC Blogging Guidelines

I just learned about the new Federal Trade Commission regulations for blogs from Craig's post via Chris' post. To be honest, I don't believe it is the government's job to tell bloggers how they should write their posts. Yeah, bloggers should mention in their posts that they were asked to review a product for a company, but does the government really have to tell or require bloggers to do so?

I don't think so, and that's why I'm posting on this topic. I'm bothered by these new regulations because I feel like the government is treating bloggers as if they are children. As an adult, I resent being treated like a child by the government, and I think the regulations should have been givens for other bloggers way before the FTC created these regulations. Additionally, I wonder if these new regulations will create precedents for the FTC to publish new and possibly, more restrictive regulations in the future.

Why do I worry? Well, from time to time, I write brief book reviews of history and genealogy books that I have read, and I think I've mentioned whether or not I bought the book or had a connection to the author. Is the government going to tell me that I can't write book reviews or that I must put another disclaimer at the end of my book review? I think I make it clear that I've either bought these books or checked them out of the library. I'm not telling people to go out and buy the books. My whole purpose in posting the book reviews was to suggest books that might help other genealogists with their research. People don't have to buy the books; they can check them out from a library.

I was thinking of posting another three book reviews of books I read over the summer, but now I'm wondering if I should bother. Would it be better for me to stop posting my informal book reviews to protect myself? Or should I just continue to post book reviews? What do you think?

As always, you can leave comments on what you think.


alwierzba said...


Personally, I agree with you that the government should not have any say in this matter. I find your book reviews informative and helpful. I too have posted book reviews and I will continue to do so....

great post,

Jennifer said...

I think the FTC is only saying that you have to post a disclaimer if you have a material relationship to the author or publisher of the book. I don't think buying the book or checking it out from the library means that you have to disclose anything. Technically, there isn't anything to disclose in those cases. I do agree that it seems kind of silly to have to disclose this, but I don't think you have anything to worry about in your cases.

Claudia said...

I also think there is too much of the government in peoples business.

I work in heath care and we can not even accept a pen or notepad from a salesman.

I think the congress should post all their donors and monies received from the lobbies. But that will never happen.