Why the FTC's New Rules for Bloggers Could Hurt Publishers, Too

http://chronicle.com/blogAuthor/Wired-Campus/5/Jennifer-Howard/9/, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Oct 07, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There is some opposition to the FTC's plan to require that graft payments to bloggers be made public. Not surprisingly, it comes from publishers. Laura Sell, a senior publicist for Duke University Press, writes in an open letter, "We send these books with the hope of a positive review, but with no agreement or contract with the recipient." This may be true, but misses the point. The selection process tells reviewers to play nice or lose out on the gravy train. They send review copies to friendly safe blogs but would never consider a more hostile source. Meanwhile, bloggers who are open and honest lose no credibility when they make it known that the book they reviewed was a freebie - though I guess the publisher doesn't want the question asked, why they picked one blog over another. the good, I think, that will come out of this is that we will see similar rules extended to the print media, which has long dispensed with any pretence or objectivity or openness regarding who pays them for coverage and who doesn't.
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