Just seen the US Federal Trade Commission is going to be cracking down on astro-turfing. Before the all-weather pitch fans amongst you get up in arms about this threat to a hockey player’s civil liberties, they’re talking about the nefarious business promoting practice type, not the fake grass type. Without wanting to sound too sanctimonious, it’s about time too. It might be that I’ve spent the last couple of years listening to division6 and others at the agency talk about the need for transparency on t’Internet, but when people get caught astroturfing (also known as flogging and puppeteering, apparently), it seems school-boy in the extreme.
The US is slightly behind the UK and the EU on this, with our legislation coming into effect last year (although there are questions as to how effectively it can be policed). Perhaps with the threat of punishment in the offline world, we’ll now see a clean up of online practices. Definitely worth seeing how things progress.