Food Blog Code of Ethics

We hold ourselves to a higher code

Category: Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission and the Food Blog Code of Ethics

A lot has happened since we launched the Food Blog Code of Ethics. Discussions about blogging ethics have sprung up across the Internet, prompting bloggers of all stripes to voice their opinions. Some claimed the blogosphere was the Wild West and thrived on lawlessness, others suggested a need for regulations.

Blogging Gets Its Hand Slapped

But the biggest change came in October 2009, when the Federal Trade Commission decided it was time to update its rules regarding endorsements and testimonials, a document written long before online content existed, let alone required regulation. With print magazines and newspapers failing left and right and untraditional marketing opportunities springing up on blogs and in social media, the Federal Trade Commission realized it was time to create clear guidelines for businesses looking to establish relationships with online publishers.

“Endorsements in print ads or on television are clear, because it is obviously the company’s advertisement,’’ says Mary Engle, the FTC’s associate director of consumer protection. “It became very clear to us when we began our regular periodic review of guides in 2007 that because of all the social media going on we’d need to update them.’’

According to the FTC’s updated stance: bloggers, Twitterers and other online reviewers are now required to disclose their “material connection” with corporate sponsors or advertisers.  As of December 1, 2009, businesses are now legally required to disclose gifts or payments to bloggers and other online writers, to subsidize posts dedicated to their product(s). The FTC also updated its endorsement and testimonial rules, now holding celebrity endorsers liable for false statements about a product. Each infringement of these rules will cost the guilty party (i.e. the business) $11,000.

Continue to Read more about FTC’s stand on Blogging »

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Clarifying the Food Blogger Code of Ethics

Wow. What an incredible 48 hours. Thank you to the thousands of people that visited our fledgling blog (it was born just days ago!) and weighed in on the topic of what is or isn’t ethical in the world of food blogging.

We live in exciting, dynamic times. Print media—newspapers and magazines—are struggling to hold on in an environment where the immediacy and accessibility of the web has broad appeal. This is particularly true in the world of food writing.

Professional journalists, amateur food writers and gastro-diarists alike have embraced the blog as an effective, informal format to reach hungry readers or, simply, to share their experiences. What makes food blogging so exciting is that it makes it just as possible that a reader could enjoy the gustatory musings of a mom in the mid-west as the hard reporting of a writer on the city food beat. The web is like a great big dinner party and everyone is invited.

Continue for more Clarity on the Subject of Ethics in Food Blogging… »