The enterprising bloggers over at Racked, still smarting over the Federal Trade Commission's 2009 regulation that bloggers must tell readers when they get free stuff or trips from companies trying to butter them up for publicity, disclosed that they accepted one such free trip to a conference in Yonkers so they could ask the FTC, face-to-face, WTF? Editor Danica Lo points out that free blogger gifts (some of ours have included dog biscuits, T-shirts, scarves, more T-shirts, more scarves, and gold metal fingers) are often garbage compared to the loot print editors get. "You'd never guess how many print editors get sent multiple iPad "look books" each year, free Chanel handbags every holiday season, or are routinely handed $1,000 gift certificates to stores such as Barneys or Jimmy Choo," she blogs.
Their FTC showdown went like this:
Racked: We know that the FTC has gone after bloggers and companies that work with bloggers to mandate that we disclose online anytime we get anything free or attend an event that's not open to the public. And we're curious why the FTC has not gone after print publications?
FTC Lawyer Tracey Thomas: That's a very good question I don't think I have the answer to. I don't know. I know that for bloggers and online, you do have to make disclosures. A lot of the things that I work on are bloggers or people who are only promoting products to get commissions or money or things like that. I'm not sure why we don't apply that to print.
Is it because no one is really jealous of a trip to Yonkers but lots of people would be painfully jealous of all the editors that, for example, got flown to and shaken up in Antibes for the Chanel cruise show? Or because it would ruin the serious undertones of print fashion editorials if the credits read "Miu Miu shoes, $985; borrowed, not returned, now worn by new editorial assistant Lisa when she's not wearing her Givenchy ankle booties, $1,295 (opposite page)"?