Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FTC After Blogger's Opinions and Speech Rights.

I'm aware of the huge federal budget deficits that my grandchildren, (or perhaps their children), will be paying off on my behalf. I despise tax cheats, swindlers, and con men. I applaud legitimate efforts from my government to level the playing field and convince me that my tax dollars are well spent. Color me stupid, but I don't think the paltry amount I obtain by publishing this humble blog is going to put a dent in the mountain of red ink.

The FTC on Monday said that "Violating the rules, which take effect on Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews." Does that mean if I review a driver, Joe Six-Pack buys it based on my opinion, loses the the $2 Nassau first time out, I owe him six bucks?

This Average Golfer has written a precious few reviews, some on books, one for a documentary film by an obscure filmmaker, and a golf tool. Yes, I received the DVD, books, and tool gratis, complements of the publishers, distributors, etc. Most of the items I gave away hoping to enhance the golf life of acquaintances or playing buddies. You know, share the wealth and good fortune. By the way, through various advertising sources shown on these pages I've received the sum total of less than $139.00 since Jan. 08 when I started this little money maker. I tell you this in the interest of full disclosure.

The dollars involved obviously aren't what's got me steamed here. It's the idea that I'm liable for my opinion. Are we to assume that the average consumer can't tell this difference between an honest little blog site and the tsunami advertising and shill sites of the world? The FTC believes so. They think you're all morons. Opinion is not to be confused with slander or liable. We have a right to an opinion, and last I knew free speech was still on the table. Perhaps it's me that's naive.

The fallout here is that Average Golfer will have to be more discriminating in choosing his words and requests for reviews. I do this for fun, no more or less. The last thing I expected was an intrusion into my basic rights and freedom to form and express an opinion. Those New Hampshire license plates are looking better and better.

Til' next,

**Free Obama administration and FTC tip........How about going after the unpaid back taxes of your recent appointees?


  1. Seems there needs to be a differentiation between a free opinion on a blog and a review on a product that someone had to pay for.

  2. I have no problem for disclosure for paid reviews. There's no objectivity there. However, I'll have to disclose when I receive a single copy of a book for consideration. I consider a review, under those circumstances to be an opinion and if I'm potentially liable for it, no matter how mundane, I'll have to think twice before expressing it.