We have seen more and more blogs, viral campaigns, and websites made to create fake publicity for a specific product. I wrote about one of them about a month ago.
This trend is now going to end because of a new Law in the EU. Here is an excerpt from "The Register"
Under laws due to come into force at the beginning of next year, ... , companies posing as consumers on fake blogs, providing fake testimonies on consumer rating websites such as TripAdvisor, or writing fake book reviews on Amazon risk criminal or civil liability.
The new rules are the result of the EU's Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin. Not only will it impose a general ban on unfair practices, but it will also include two main categories of unfair commercial practice: misleading practices and aggressive practices. Whether a commercial practice is unfair will be assessed in light of the effect it has, or is likely to have, on the average consumer's decision to buy.
The directive catches all commercial organizations - big or small - and the upshot is that companies (including sole traders) will no longer be able to pay individual bloggers or professional agencies to post false or misleading blogs or reviews online. Nor will they be able to do it themselves.
The directive is not just aimed at online activity, and a number of commercial practices will be unfair in all circumstances. This black list of practices includes "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". In other words, companies will not be able to pretend to be someone else, without clearly stating who they actually are.
- The Register
Nokia - you just became a criminal!
This is great news. The whole practice of misleading to promote has gone too far for a very long time. Many companies do this - and while it might be effective in the short run, the long term effect is disastrous.
BTW: This is already illegal, in a sense, in some countries in the world. In Denmark (where I live) it is already illegal to promote products using deception:
Incorrect, misleading or unreasonably perfunctory statements designed to influence demand for or supply of goods, real property, other property, labour and services must not be employed.
Subsection 1 also applies to statements that are unwarrantable when made to other traders or consumers as a result of their form or because they relate to immaterial matters.
Misleading practices similar in significance for supply and demand to those referred to in subsection 1 or equivalent practices must not be employed insofar as they are unwarrantable when made to other traders or consumers as a result of their specific form or because they relate to immaterial matters.
Where factual statements are made, these must be capable of being substantiated by documentation.
- The Danish Marketing Practices Act
The new law is simply a more specific restriction. In the past people have been claiming that it didn't apply to them because of all kinds of imaginary things. Now, it does - no matter what they say.
The world is about to become a better place :)
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