Are FTC’s blogger rules unfair?

Are FTC's blogger rules fair?As a journalist in a former life, and as a blogger in this current incarnation, I’ve watched with growing fascination the push and pull happening with bloggers, brands, and now the FTC. I’ve fought my colleagues on the use of the phrase, “citizen journalists” despite my respect for and commitment to the art of citizen bloggery. I have trouble shaking the idea that was drilled into me that someone without formal training and critical investigative skills could be called a journalist.

That said, as a member of a team that believes passionately in social media and the power of online “uberfluents”–as well as being the individual responsible for a team of writers at the Lab, I also recognize the powerful role that bloggers have in shaping our media universe.

When we consult with brands looking to tap into these “uberfluent” bloggers, we throw our weight behind the everyday fashionistas, moms, vegans, and opinionators who are leading important conversations across the Web. Brands should tap into these tribes and their tribe leaders–because in the game of social media, it’s one of the best ways to speak to your audience…And then I hear the high pitched,  protesting voice of my high school journalism adviser: Keep editorial and marketing separate!!!

Ars Technica lays out a convincing and worthy rebuttal to my inner journalist. The main question being: why do the rules proposed by the FTC not apply to traditional media as well? Why has the social media and blogging community not been engaged to work out the rules of engagement? Read their article here, and check out the CEO and President of IAB, Randall Rothenberg’s open letter to the FTC. Then, take our survey below to tell us what you think about the proposed blogger guidelines (since violating them could result in up to $11k in fines, I’m going to take a leap and call them rules).

*Note: This blog was sponsored by the IPG Emerging Media Lab.