Monday, June 22, 2009

Nothing to Declare

First let me say hello to anyone from the FTC who is forced to read this blog because of their job. I apologize if you find it terribly boring, but then again, what did you expect when you became a federal bureaucrat? Now then, what's this all about? It would appear that the Federal Trade Commission has taken it upon itself to begin monitoring blogs of all types for unfair and/or sneaky business practices. Their goal is to identify those writers who present their blogs as unbiased opinion but who in fact are receiving some form of compensation from the companies they review or discuss. They seem to be worried that people are being tricked and unduly influenced when they voluntarily seek out and read a blog, then afterwards engage in commerce of their own free will. (The horror!) I would have considered it a matter of free expression, and thus protected by the First Amendment, to say or write whatever one wants regardless of financial motivation, but of course I'm also a fan of those antiquated concepts of personal liberty and intellectual freedom.

I still do not understand how the FTC plans on carrying out this new directive, nor is it clear to me what type of punishments or censorship they intend to impose on suspected violators of this type of commercialism. I personally am in favor of bloggers disclosing any relationships they have with the businesses they write about, but I believe this should be left up to the individual writers to do and not mandated by some unelected agency. Ultimately I believe people should be responsible for themselves and their own decisions... Caveat emptor, you know? I thought at this point in time most people are savvy enough to understand that anything on the internet should be approached with some skepticism, yet once again I see that our government thinks less of us.

Due to the nature of my blog here at diceRolla, with quasi product reviews and a list of links to manufacturers and retailers, I suspect at some point this humble site could draw the attention of just such an agency review. As I certainly never want to run afoul of our Federal government, I am therefore prepared to preemptively comply with any new or future FTC blog-censorship guidelines with the following disclosure:

I am the sole author of this blog and the opinions expressed are 100% mine and mine alone. I have no commercial or financial type of relationship with any of the businesses mentioned on this website, nor with any of the manufacturers of products discussed on this website either. This is all done entirely for my own enjoyment and as a way of expanding the scope of my hobbies and interests. If any company should ever approach me with the intent of having me write about them or their products, I will be completely transparent and honest about any such arrangements and the form of compensation offered. I think it would be cool if my blog was to be considered to have that much influence so you can bet that I would want to brag about it.

Hopefully that disclosure will be sufficient for anyone whom our Big Brother assigns to keep tabs on diceRolla. Who knows, maybe that lucky bureaucrat will end up liking what he or she reads and start paint miniatures too!

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