In a win for consumers, the Federal Trade Commission settled today with a video game company that hired a public relations firm to post reviews of its app in the iTunes App Store.
The FTC found that the reviews, which did not disclose the relationship of the reviewer with the company or product, constituted a form of false advertising by hiding facts that “would have been relevant to consumers who were evaluating the endorsement and deciding whether to buy the gaming applications”.
I’d actually really love to see a little more regulation of this kind of thing; many bloggers and pundits are very above-board with disclosing their connections, but at the same time, many are not. Tools like Twitter, and these iTunes reviews, which allow company spokespeople to register for what appear to be unconnected consumer accounts is just a lie of omission. I’m glad to see the FCC is holding unscrupulous advertisers to a higher standard, in print at least.