The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that new rules for bloggers in the US will require them to disclose any "relationships" or "Material Connections" with the companies of products or services that they endorse.
Failure do do so may lead to fines of up to $11,000.00 per POST!
Bloggers who receive products from companies that they are writing about will now have to include the fact that they are getting "Freebies" or heavey discounts from the companies that they are writing about.
I am all about full disclosure and being honest when forth coming when selling or promoting a product and service, but how will this ability of the FTC to charge anyone they deem to be breaking this law play out for anyone writing a simple blog about the topics they enjoy and love?
Do we now have to worry that writing a good review of my favorite hobby shop down the street, a hobby shop that I frequent often and sometimes receive discounts or free products because I am a Valued customer, will leave me with the risk of getting an 11 grand fine?
I know Im probably over simplifying the subject and that most small time bloggers really have nothing to worry about however, this does give rise to the concern that free reign of the internet by the general public may be closer to an end.
On another note, this law does not only include the US. Many other countries that currently have no laws over the internet's content are starting to create ones that may one day controll what we can see, do and publish online.