Questioning its constitutionality, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is taking aim at a recent decision by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to require bloggers who receive free products to review to disclose that they received those products for free or be subject to civil enforcement penalties.
In his open letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, Randall Rothenberg, the IAB’s president and CEO, called the FTC’s distinction between offline media and online media, “constitutionally dubious.”
Products reviewed in print and traditional media are frequently provided for free, argues the IAB. The FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” are “punitive to the online world and unfairly distinguish between the same speech, based on the medium in which it is delivered,” said Rothenberg. “… I urge the [FTC] to retract the current set of guides and to commence a fair and open process in order to develop a roadmap by which responsible online actors can engage with consumers and continue to provide the invaluable content and services that have so transformed people’s lives.”