If there is one thing that I hate it’s those bullshit commercials that go on and on. You know the ones, they’re promoting a product and if you buy it now you get some other crap thrown in. Then it goes on a bit more about how cool the stuff is, and then you get the old, ‘and there’s more’ line if you do this or that. The end result of buying into the whole sales line is that you have so much more shit to throw away.
Well, that is what the old squeeze page is like. You’ve all seen them. You land on a page that is promising to show you how you can tell your boss to shove his job because it’s going to reveal how you can make thousands of dollars a month. The problem is that no matter how much you scroll down, it seems you’re never going to get to the end of the sales jargon, and when you do, instead of telling you how much they’re going to fleece you, all you get is a link to click on, and 9 times out of ten you have to divulge your email address, and possible some other details. No worries though, because you’ve just been given a link to some crappy ‘free’ ebook.
Well, it’s quite possible that the new FTC guidelines which came into force on Dec. 1st is going to put a stop to all that. If you haven’t heard of these new guidelines you should check out the FTC website, and if you’ve got a lot of time to kill you may even want to read the 81 page guide.
Anyway, the problem is that the only ones it will affect are the Americans. I’m not 100% sure but I think everyone else around the globe is FTC safe. So, the question is how fair is it to the average American?
Let’s look at paid bloggers as an example. Most bloggers are already doing the right thing, by having a disclosure policy on their blog, and generally speaking, a lot of them do not make false claims in their paid posts. These new rules will now force those other bloggers to lift their game, but only if they are American.
So, what will the advertisers who paid for these posts do now that the new rules are out, and bloggers have to divulge, via the post, that they’re getting paid for it? As the majority of advertisers do not want bloggers to divulge such information, I put it to you that they could possibly look to overseas bloggers for these paid posts, thereby restricting Americans from a legitimate form of income. If this is the case, instead of solving the problem, the FTC guidelines is simply relocating it.
These guidelines are possibly flawed in that the majority of scam sites and blogs are in the control of non Americans who don’t give a hoot about these guidelines.
Kristi raises a good point when she says in her post covering the FTC Guidelines;
Does there need to be fine print disclosures under every affiliate link on a website if someone is going to be paid commission on a purchase originating at that website, or does this only apply to written testimonials and reviews?
And if it is necessary to apply it every time someone writes a post promoting an affiliate, is that really fair? And who is to decide if someone has broken the guidelines? A blogger in good faith may have written a post promoting an affiliate thinking he’s abiding by the rules only to find out that some official disagrees and cops a whopping fine for his efforts. Sounds to me like the whole thing is flawed.
What say you guys? Will it do what it’s claiming to do? Will the Net be a better place because of it, or is it just another piece of bureaucratic crap who’s only intention is to show that the pen pushers are doing something to justify their exorbitant salaries?