Tuesday, December 12, 2006

FTC ends croudsourcing?

Part of what makes the Web 2.0 so wonderful is its bottom up, viral nature. Somebody has an idea, then shares it- peer to peer. Few things are as effective as saying "I think this is cool- you should check it out."

The top down mainstream marketers have figured that out too. Jason Calacanis reported today that PR firms are paying highly ranked diggers to submit and/or digg up stories. Netscape officially responded by threatening to ban any users founds to be on the take.

Now, the feds are going after them too. The FTC announced that companies using paid P2P marketers must disclose the relationships. Theoretically, any word of mouth marketing could be affected- from fake viral YouTube videos, to people chatting up a movie. It also means the certain end of pay per post.

As a blogger, I say it's about time. These kinds of scams are an insult to true sharing; but as a lawyer, I have to wonder how the FTC will regulate it. Will it be the digger's duty to disclose? Who will pay the penalties? How can the government tell someone that they can't talk about something- not make sales claims, just talk about something? Someone will challenge this for certain.