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BizReport : Law & Regulation : February 14, 2007

Fake blogs to be banned in U.K. from next year

Beginning in 2008, companies or individuals who post reviews of their own products online will be breaking the law in Britain. A new law in the United Kingdom prohibits even authors from reviewing their own books at sites like

by Kristina Knight

The law goes into effect December 31, 2007, according to MediaPost. It is the result of the growing number of "flogs", or phony blogs, in the blogosphere. Marketers, who create phony blogs to promote a product as well as authors, inventors and marketing companies, are all included under the ban.

Large brands like Sony and Wal-Mart have fallen under scrutiny because of their use of flogs. The Wal-Mart flog received the most press last year, when it was learned that two supposed RVers who camped in store parking lots and wrote content supporting the stores, employees and goods, were actually paid by a Wal-Mart executive and public relations firm to write the content.

A similar ban is being considered throughout the European Union. That ban would police so-called "grassroots support" of a product or company through positive reviews of their services. The ban could even include bloggers hired through a third party to post reviews of products and services.

There is no word if a similar ban would be launched in the United States, but that is doubtful according to some lawyers because of the First Amendment.

Tags: blogs, paid blogging, phony blogs

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