Crackdown on twits for hire in the UK:
In the first of its kind, the OFT (Office of Fair Trading–ed.) has brought a case against a PR firm that was discovered to be paying bloggers to write effusively about its clients. The watchdog has launched an investigation into Handpicked Media, which operates a commercial blogging network – insisting that it must clearly state when promotional comments have been paid for.
In a statement, the OFT said online advertising and marketing that did not disclose paid-for promotions were “deceptive” under fair trading rules. “This includes comments about services and products on blogs and microblogs such as Twitter,” it said.
Celebrity twitter endorsements are already big business in the US, where artists such as Snoop Dogg can earn a reported $3,000 (£1,900) for sending a tweet endorsing a product. But the US Federal Trade Commission insists that such endorsements must contain the words “ad” or “spon” to show the reference has been paid for. Such a requirement does not currently exist in the UK.