03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

FTC Decides on a Double Standard for Citizen Journalists

As widely reported (but mostly slept-through) the FTC issued guidelines on October 5th subjecting bloggers to endorsement and testimonial rules that are different from traditional media. The IAB and it's CEO, Randall Rothenberg, responded today (see links below).

Rothenberg's open letter to FTC Chairman on his clog, quotes the FTC report, which says:

...that bloggers may be subject to different disclosure requirements than reviewers in traditional media. In general, under usual circumstances, the Commission does not consider reviews published in traditional media (i.e., where a newspaper, magazine, or television or radio station with independent editorial responsibility assigns an employee to review various products or services as part of his or her official duties, and then publishes those reviews) to be sponsored advertising messages. Accordingly, such reviews are not "endorsements" within the meaning of the Guides...

Never mind the financial pressures that traditional media is under that might tempt them to say a few kind words about their sponsors. We accept that the Captains of traditional journalistic integrity will go down with the ships without uttering a false endorsement.

Double standards are just wrong, however, as Rothenberg and the IAB fairly point out.

Twitter your Congressman.

Randall Rothenberg's Clog

IAB release.