If I were to post the Amazon link for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (as I have just done) after December 1st, I could wind up in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. According to Slate:
In new guidelines (PDF) released Oct. 5, the FTC put bloggers on notice that they could incur an $11,000 fine if they receive free goods, free services, or money and write about the goods or services without conspicuously disclosing their “material connection” to the provider. The FTC guidelines extend even to Facebook and Twitter posters.
Even though I’m not reviewing the book (I haven’t read it – it just came up at the meeting) a link to a vendor could be considered advertising on behalf of the product. I’m in no real danger here because nobody sponsors me for anything, nor do I get anything for free. But if one of the group members gave me one of their books to review, and I did so anywhere on the internet, I would be obligated to disclose our relationship prominently within the review.
Which is crap for a lot of reasons, mainly because it does not apply t “legitimate media”. So I could plug whatever I pleased at my Examiner site (though it would violate my terms with Examiner) without fear of the FTC. Some Examiners do this anyway.
I tried to find a picture of a jahkey – but there is an artist called Jahkey B who promotes himself well on the internet.
C-span on William Faulkner (may need a plug-in)
Should be more, but I gotta go.
Now you know.