The National Advertising Review Council (NARC), a "coalition of advertising organizations" that recommends standards for industry self-regulation, issued its first rulings dealing with blog promotions. NARC faulted two companies for "posting 'reviews' of dietary supplements, but not disclosing that they actually own the products," or that the reviewers were paid.
In what may be the first case against online astroturfing, New York's attorney general has reached a settlement with a cosmetic surgery company.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "may soon require online media to comply with disclosure rules under its truth-in-advertising guidelines." FTC assistant director Richard Cleland said, "Consumers have a right to know when they're being pitched a product." But the "hypercommercialism of the Web" may be "changing too quickly for consumers and regulators to keep up," reports the New York Times.
The "new world of promoting start-ups in Silicon Valley," California, is "where the lines between journalists and everyone else are blurring and the number of followers a pundit has on Twitter is sometimes viewed as more important than old metrics like the circulation of a newspaper," observes the New York Times. Instead of angling for "mentions in print and on television," publicists for new tech companies "court influential voices on the social Web." This means that "P.R.
"We don't tell them not to write" about bad experiences, "but most want to only write positive things," said Stacy Becker of Coyne Public Relations.
Recently the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice asked me to write an article for them with my ideas of how grassroots activists could better use the Internet for real change. As a member of the group, I was happy to tackle that assignment, and here are my thoughts.
Barack Obama owes his election in no small part to his brilliant use of social networking websites, email, cell phone texting and blogs, all utilized in unprecedented ways by his campaign staff to promote, organize and fund his unlikely victory. He employed techniques pioneered by online groups such as MoveOn and took them to an entirely new level. Thanks to Obama's use of the Internet, politics in America will never be the same. It's crucial that peace and social justice activists at the state and local levels understand and harness these new technologies in organizing for fundamental social change.
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