EU cracks down on fake blogs – or does it?

07 November 2007

A couple of days ago, Neville Hobson posted a link to an article from the sharp-tongued IT news site The Register.

According to the piece by Phillip Carnell, "covert commercial blogging – or flogging – will soon be banned by Brussels."

Er. Or not. Whilst I applaud the spirit of the article, I think The Register has used a bit of poetic license on this one (shurely not?). Having reviewed the text of the Directive, the only section relevant is the Appendix of “non-exhaustive” misleading advertising practices:

“Falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer.”

Nowhere in the Directive are mentions of any of the specific practices that The Register says will be outlawed.

Using this definition, I doubt much will change unless an advertiser purposely uses a blog to represent itself as a consumer (NB. these wouldn’t include fake blogs from the "characters" that some companies use to promote their products). I also doubt whether it would disallow companies from paying third parties to spread word of mouth in the ways the article suggests.

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2 Responses to “EU cracks down on fake blogs – or does it?”

  1. Simon Wakeman

    I think this is one where until there’s case law, much of the discussion about what would/wouldn’t be included is just conjecture.

    There is some history in the UK of the ASA ruling on use of "fake blogs" in advertising

    cheers,

    sw

  2. Eamon

    How on earth is something as nebulous and (not quite the right word) an organization as the EU going to govern such a ruling over something as nebulous (again, not quite the right word) as the world of blogs.

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