Thursday, September 24, 2009

Astroturfing may become a federal offense

FTC Ready to Cut 'Astroturfing'

The controversial promotional practice of "astroturfing" -- flooding the Internet with bogus product reviews -- is about to hit the dirt.

The Federal Trade Commission is apparently on the brink of updating its 29-year-old guidelines on product endorsements. While that threat has been looming for more than a year now, advertising lawyers say final rules are expected to be announced before the year is up.

And the FTC, lawyers warn, will be making one thing clear: Phony online reviews will not be tolerated.

Some of us in the industry have been saying for years that astroturfing must go. Now that the Federal Trade Commission is saying it the industry will have to pay attention.

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