FTC vs. Bloggers

So the FTC apparently has come out with new rules (PDF) where they can fine you up to $11,000 if you don't reveal any money or "freebies" you might have gotten in "exchange" for a review. Ed Champion does some pretty stellar reporting in interviewing a person from the FTC about this and explaining the problems with the new rules. Basically, there's a double standard; if a reviewer for a traditional newspaper get a free book as a review copy and then reviews it, that's okay, but if a blogger does the same thing suddenly he's treated as if he's being bribed. The interviewee also talking about having direct links to the product being a problem. But so what if I have direct links to where you can buy a book I've reviewed from IndieBound? And so what if I get a commission from those links? I can link to any book that's in print. No one's paying me to pimp their book, I'm pimping (or smacking down or whatever) any book I want to.

In other words, these new rules represent yet another example of clueless people in government making clueless decisions that favor old media over new because they just don't understand the new media. And it's bullshit.

Are we all going to have to wait until the people in government die off and are replaced by younger people who grew up with the new media before we get anything resembling clued-in legislation? How long are we going to have to deal with the type of folks who think the Internet is a "series of tubes" before we get people who actually know what they're talking about?

Very frustrating.