Wine Bloggers Face New FTC Scrutiny

Wine Bloggers Face New FTC Scrutiny

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now the rules work both ways… [berserker.gif]

Bad Bloggers Bad Bloggers what you going to do when I come for you…TK G-d…

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As I understand, these are guidelines rather than binding regulations. I suppose the guidelines may give some indication of what sort of behavior the FTC may target with legal actions. I suspect they will concentrate their attention on bloggers who write favorable reviews in exchange for cash or products with significant cash equivalents, and on advertising personnel masquerading as bloggers. From a cursory reading of another thread, you seem angry at bloggers who write about wine samples they received for free. It’s difficult for me to imagine that a court would consider that to be compensation for a favorable review, unless the favorable review were a pre-condition. It’s even more difficult for me to imagine the FTC would spend much time worrying about such things when there were bigger fish to fry.

-Al

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The FTC should enforce the rules! If this was enforced Dr. Jay Miller and others would have to make full disclosure! Go for it.

I can understand the intent behind this regulation as an extension of truth in advertising. As a (Philippine) blogger myself, I’ve come across a few bloggers (mostly on restaurants) that I perceive as obvious “shills” (I hope I used that term correctly).

As regards my wine blog, though most of what I drink are not locally available (approximately 85%-90%), some wines I post on are, and, to be helpful to my readers, I usually disclose the retailer and price of these locally available wines. Note that the “finer wine” market/crowd in the Philippines is miniscule and all of us tend to know each other somehow.

In this connection, a friend/local wine collector (not ITB) recently told me that he thinks I should stop mentioning local retailers and prices as I may be perceived as favoring some retailers over others. I gave what he said some thought, and, decided to continue what I’ve been doing before.

For the record, although I accept the rare gifts (just a bottle or two, usually during Christmas) from local retailers who are my friends, I believe this does not affect my objectivity in the slightest. For one thing, I do not normally review bottles given as gifts as that seems rude. For another, the one or two times I absently reviewed gifts from retailers, they were bottles that I could easily buy for myself and would likely have eventually bought anyway - so I figured: “What the hell”.

Since I (or friends) pay for all the wine I blog on I’m cool.
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Interesting though.

You assume that bureaucrats act rationally. However, the very nature of a bureaucrat precludes rational behavior.

Mike,

this is why I like your style… [cheers.gif]

According to John Z, critics are already experts and exempt from any sort of guidelines. They can do whatever they so desire.

Right, John?

Thanks for the heads up.

I would think the Murphy-Goode’s lawyers would want to watch this VERY carefully…

I hope everyone read the post and the links inside.

First of all, this is non-wine centric. The FTC didn’t act because of any contact about wine bloggers. Nor is there any indication that the FTC has even looked at a wine blog. They issued the statement last fall to make clear that they considered deceptive advertising on blogs (about any product) as under their purview. To date, not sure that any blogger has even been warned. The Business Week article linked is probably best summary.

If you read the guidelines, it sounds like free samples of reasonably priced wine would generally be allowed. What probably wouldn’t be allowed is sending 2 cases of a wine to a blogger as a “sample”. Or sending a bottle of '82 Mouton Rothschild along with the bottle of Mouton Cadet the blogger is to review. These guidelines apply equally to print newsletters and the like, also.

The Murphy Goode situation, where my understanding is the blogger is clearly the MG blogger, would not be problematic. In any case, disclosure solves most potential problems from reports.

Posted by Bob on eBob:

Truism as old as time…the most frightening thing you will ever hear…“I am from the government and I am here to help you”…

Cheap shot (Ralph Nader-esque) Parker… Especially now.