Without meaning to upset the apple cart, I've stirred the pot instead. When I posted my rant about the FTC and scrapbooking, blogging etc, I surely didn't mean to offend. Rather, I had hoped to make folks aware of the things our government is trying to do that really are beginning to approach infringing on our rights as citizens of the USA.
For those who need more examples to extricate the truth from what I wrote, please feel free to peruse the following articles:
from The WOMMA: "The FTC Brings About Online Viral Marketing Changes"
From Big Marketing Ideas: "Regulating Viral Marketing"
From Internet Marketing News: "FTC Targets Viral Marketing With New Regulations"
From World Advertising Research Center: "US Viral Marketing Rules Under Scrutiny"
Additionally, a review of the proposal through the FTC website and the comments made by various organizations has proven the determinations of all the above referenced articles (and more) to be valid.
It's a shame that while the arguments presented by all parties are on target, the real point is that our right to free speech is, little by little, being stripped away. While I totally concur that we should expect and be given valid information, we all have the ability to discern. If we read an article in The Enquirer for diet pills and the same article appears in The Washington Post (an exaggeration but allow me my point please), most people will find the advertisement to be truthful. IF one were to invest in said diet pills and did not experience the same result, the disclosure (that little asterisk* that reads "Results not typical") takes care of any ill will we feel towards the manufacturer. Not once did anyone question the advertiser (The Enquirer or The Post).
Conversely, if we were to state, after having used a certain cutter, we loved it, after 250 cuts the blade is still sharp and wrote that on our blog, why should we be required to "disclose" that our results aren't typical. They are typical for us. We do not have the means to conduct multiple studies during which we can determine out of 1000 cuts per product X cutter was superior in sharpeness and therefore, the blog statements are true. Blogging is a matter of opinion. What we do on Facebook, MySpace, on line message boards and the like are just that - opinions. It is our experience. Why should we have to preface everything we write for a newsletter, a post on a message board or a blog with "Disclaimer: The opinions stated in this article are purely the opinions and statements of the writer and in no way are the opinion or the site owner, [Facebook, MySpace, etc] and should not be conveyed as such. There is no factual basis for these representations and no legal relationship exists between the writer and the manufacturer, advertiser, seller or any other entity other than the experience of this writer."
It's insane that we should have to protect our right to express ourselves with the threat of legal liability and it's ramifications.
If I've offended, please accept my apologies, and this will be the last of it from me, but truthfully, it's not about not getting "free stuff". It's about being able to express ourselves clearly, from our hearts, with our own experiences. Our forefathers thought it to be one of our inalinable rights... Why shouldn't we be able to expect the same 233 years later?
Peace and blessings,