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Do Celebrity Endorsements on Google+ Require Disclosure?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the everyone's-a-critic dept.

Advertising 79

theodp writes "According to the FTC, 'celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.' So, would the ringing endorsement of Zeppelin tour operator Airship Ventures that Sergey Brin gave to his 200,000+ Google+ followers last week fall into that category? 'Since getting to know the folks over at airshipventures.com,' posted Brin, 'I have had the pleasure of flying with them several times and this loop in the south bay is arguably the most scenic. I will probably give it another go when they get back to SF in October.' Forbes calls Brin 'an investor in Airship Ventures,' and others have speculated about a possible Google connection."

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Man I sure feel like riding a blimp now (2)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310386)

Hoooo boy, I wonder if I can still get on one of those zeppelins now. Damn you Sergey and your foul underhand advertising!

Oh well, if there's going to be a rush now, I guess I'll just stay home and code a bit.

Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310588)

Definition of a celebrity: someone who is famous for being famous. While this is a little overboard in many cases, it is far from applicable to Brin.

Sergei Brin is known by reputation to those who could not distinguish between a celebrity and a hole in the ground. He is a co-founder of Google and well-known as such, so that makes him a public figure, but by no means a celebrity. Now, do they have similar rules for "public figures", or merely for "celebrities"?

brin is most certainly a celebrity (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310666)

and you don't know what a celebrity is

Re:brin is most certainly a celebrity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310834)

Maybe you could make a movie about celebrity zombies. That would be great.

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (1)

rommi04 (2368482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310688)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celebrity [merriam-webster.com]

Definition of CELEBRITY
1: the state of being celebrated : fame
2: a famous or celebrated person

Your definition is wrong.

Going by the real definition Sergey Brin is a celebrity.

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310768)

Geek idol, sure. Billionaire executive, yes. Celebrity, definitely not. He isn't even close to being famous. My mom has never heard him, and I'll bet yours hasn't either.

"celebrity" definition nitpicking (2)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310824)

I figure one can be a generally known celebrity, or a celebrity _amongst a specific group of people_. It seems fair to say that Sergey Brin is one of the latter.

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (2)

rommi04 (2368482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310844)

My mom has never heard him, and I'll bet yours hasn't either.

My mom has heard of him. Maybe your mom should read more?

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311266)

I wonder if his 200000 followers have something to say about that

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311602)

Do you ever take those noise-cancelling headphones off? She screamed his name last night! P.S. You're out of milk.

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316150)

Geek idol, sure. Billionaire executive, yes. Celebrity, definitely not. He isn't even close to being famous. My mom has never heard him, and I'll bet yours hasn't either.

So? My mum hadn't heard of Justin Bieber until my seven year old tolder her all about him.

TIME Cover Subject? PEOPLE Hottest Bachelor? (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312032)

Does appearing on a TIME cover [time.com] count? If not, how about being named one of PEOPLE's "hottest bachelors" [people.com] ? :-)

Re:TIME Cover Subject? PEOPLE Hottest Bachelor? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37318910)

Maybe 20 years ago. Magazine fame is not what it used to be.

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316102)

Definition of a celebrity: someone who is famous for being famous.

Definition of a twat: someone who makes up their own highly restrictive definition of a word.

Re:Who says Brin is a "celebrity"? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323860)

Definition of a celebrity: someone who is famous for being famous.

Um, no. Not even close.
 
A celebrity is someone who is famous - period. From Wikipedia: "A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile in the media and is easily recognized". From Dictionary.com. "a famous or well-known person. fame; renown. distinction, note, eminence, stardom".

Incestuous (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310398)

That Gawker link is pretty interesting. Apparently, Brin isn't afraid of spreading the wealth to privileged friends, who then go on to publicly support Google and Google's products in the media as well as talk about how Google should be "allowed to regulate itself." Even NASA is involved, letting Google's founders park their party jets at Moffett Field "for scientific missions" even though those jets are impractical for such flights.

Re:Incestuous (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310702)

No it's not. Where's the smoking gun? Prove to me the blimp wasn't paid for using legitimate funds. Prove to me that google's planes can't be used for scientific purposes.

Why the anti-google bent anyway? I mean, your signature implies google is hypocritical because they don't release their secrets and allow scummy advertisers to destroy their search engine. Jealous of their success? Being paid by Mark Zuckerberg? Or did google touch you in your bathing suit area when you were younger? Or did you just forget to post anonymously while trolling?

Re:Incestuous (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310850)

No it's not. Where's the smoking gun? Prove to me the blimp wasn't paid for using legitimate funds.

You're seriously going to ignore all the financial links between these people? All these people who just so happen to be funding each other and praising each other's products, sometimes without disclosure?

Prove to me that google's planes can't be used for scientific purposes.

From the article: "In fact, the Google founders' jets proved impractical for Nasa's science needs; Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt bought a fighter jet to fly those missions instead."

Why the anti-google bent anyway? I mean, your signature implies google is hypocritical because they don't release their secrets and allow scummy advertisers to destroy their search engine.

Pointing out that Google's search engine isn't open source gives me anti-Google bent? What my signature implies is that Google is hypocritical for professing to be an openness advocate when their core product is as closed and proprietary as Microsoft Windows. Hiding its secrets out of fear of advertiser exploitation is the same logic used to defend closed source against security hackers. What happened to the philosophy of "many eyes"?

Jealous of their success? Being paid by Mark Zuckerberg? Or did google touch you in your bathing suit area when you were younger? Or did you just forget to post anonymously while trolling?

And here you go completely insane. Sure, anyone criticizing Google is part of a conspiracy by Mark Zuckerberg.

Re:Incestuous (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310950)

You're seriously going to ignore all the financial links between these people?

Yes, because nothing seems to be wrong. What crime is being committed? Google and/or 23 and me paid for an advertisement on a blimp and happened to know the guys operating the blimp... that's somehow bad?

Pointing out that Google's search engine isn't open source gives me anti-Google bent? What my signature implies is that Google is hypocritical for professing to be an openness advocate when their core product is as closed and proprietary as Microsoft Windows. Hiding its secrets out of fear of advertiser exploitation is the same logic used to defend closed source against security hackers. What happened to the philosophy of "many eyes"?

A search engine and an operating system are two very different things, thus it's not hypocritical. You're comparing apples to oranges. I suspect you're doing it intentionally, as google's operating system is, in fact, open source. And that's quite disingenuous, google open sourcing their search engine would in fact break it, unlike an operating system.

Re:Incestuous (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316216)

A search engine and an operating system are two very different things, thus it's not hypocritical. You're comparing apples to oranges. I suspect you're doing it intentionally, as google's operating system is, in fact, open source. And that's quite disingenuous, google open sourcing their search engine would in fact break it, unlike an operating system.

What utter bollocks. Google keeps their search engine closed source so that advertisers can't game it, as Google make their money from advertising. There is no reason why a non-commercial search engine shouldn't be open source.

Microsoft keep Windows closed source so that they can sell licenses to use it. Google keeps its search engine closed source so they can sell advertising space on it. Doesn't seem much different to me.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311250)

Actually from his commenting history of bashing Google without adding anything of value among other things, bonch seems to be an Apple shill.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311462)

Ad hominem.
Try again.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311694)

You keep using that phrase. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Re:Incestuous (1)

IronWilliamCash (1078065) | more than 2 years ago | (#37315486)

Wish I had mod points for the excellent reference ;)

Re:Incestuous (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311626)

What my signature implies is that Google is hypocritical for professing to be an openness advocate when their core product is as closed and proprietary as Microsoft Windows.

What your signature implies is that you don't understand the difference between an OS and a search engine, and between security research and information research.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311094)

Flat out, the Federal government should have filed a RICO case against executives at Google, including Page, over the whole "knowingly running ads for overseas pharmacies selling drugs to US consumers" situation. If investigators had Google emails (and some people involved in the case have so in interviews) showing that management - including Page - KNEW that they were furthering or supporting illegal businesses - and, let's face it - profiting from it - a RICO case seems like the least they could have done.

Of course, the Obama administration is rather close to Google, and the Republicans won't get behind prosecuting executives. So, no case.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311166)

This is the same with 4chan. When 4chan wasn't getting investors and was just a fly-by-night thing no problem...but now that the founder is pulling in venture capital somebody needs to investigate them for essentially profiting off child porn. 4chan was always known as a place were people regularly post child porn. Then again why anyone would want to invest with a guy who pretty much line for line copied a Japanese site is another story. But from being *wink* *wink* about child porn needs to draw at least some scrutiny!

Re:Incestuous (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310836)

Apparently, Brin isn't afraid of spreading the wealth to privileged friends, who then go on to publicly support Google and Google's products in the media as well as talk about how Google should be "allowed to regulate itself."

This is more evidence that in anything resembling "free market capitalism" as corporations grow they will inevitably become evil. The final result of the single-minded quest for increase in shareholder value will always be evil behavior.

There are no exceptions. If as a society we are going to strive for the "free market" we have to accept this law and be prepared for the consequences. Unfortunately, the only possible preparation for these consequences requires encroachment on the "free market".

This is the ultimate flaw in the concept of the "Free Market": that as the corporation approaches a level of growth that gives them greatest power they will inevitably be at their state of greatest evil. Again, there are no exceptions.

Re:Incestuous (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310896)

The first problem with your anti-capitalism rant is that you don't actually explain why there should be encroachment on the free market in this situation. There is already an FTC requirement for disclosure. Beyond that, people are free to fund things, and this submission is just pointing out the links between these companies and the lack of disclosure in some cases.

The second, and bigger, problem is that you do what many anti-capitalists do--go on and on about some perceived "evil" (a religious term) inherent to corporations yet demand a solution involving government regulation. Governments are the biggest, most "evil" corporations of all. Bloated, inefficient, and corrupt, they make the laws and therefore are above them. Even worse, they have no incentive to please the people using their services because, unlike a corporation which must compete for customers in order to survive, you are forced to pay the government at gunpoint. Think that's hyperbole? Try not paying your taxes or showing up to court and see what happens.

If there was a corporation that forced customers to pay it and had no incentive to improve its products, no doubt you'd be ranting about it as an evil of capitalism. Yet that's government in a nutshell and is why government regulation should always be approached skeptically and with valid justification.

Re:Incestuous (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311172)

The first problem with your anti-capitalism rant is that you don't actually explain why there should be encroachment on the free market in this situation. There is already an FTC requirement for disclosure.

Um, the FTC requirement is an example of such encroachment. The corporations would call that FTC requirement a "job-killing regulation".

Please give me an example of how you can reign in a monopolistic corporation without government encroachment in the form of regulation.

And I use "evil" not in a religious sense, but in the sense of "bad for everyone". And by "everyone", I mean human beings. Though I know it makes me out of step with the Supreme Court, but I do not consider a corporation a member of the set, "human beings".

Here in the US, government is us. Whether or not you happen to like it, our government is still made up of Americans, by Americans, and for Americans. Just like it says in the manual. It is "bloated, inefficient and corrupt" to the extent that we are bloated, inefficient and corrupt. Corporations on the other hand, are virtual golems, created only to feed on the wealth of others. That is part of their definition. They were created in order to allow a business person, and groups of business people, to avoid negative consequences of their actions. Unlike our government, corporations are made "for" certain individuals, though they are not "of" or "by" those individuals (again, by definition).

Now you want to call me an "anti-capitalist" just because I state some basic lemma of the theory of free markets. I would disagree in your characterization of me as anti-capitalist". I believe in allowing "capitalism" the same limited parameters that we allow government, that it gets to exist, in a highly limited form, only as long as it provides a net positive to society. When it ceases to do so, we should put it back in the crate until it can learn to stop shitting on the carpet.

Currently, our version of "free market capitalism" (which is really a platonic ideal more than any actual possibility) is crapping all over the floor, chewing up the furniture, and basically making the place unlivable. Its enrollment in a behavior class is past due. Government is the only entity capable of disciplining the unruly beast.

Putting government in its place, on the other hand, is our job, and it's one that is still well within our grasp (but only if enough of us can be well-informed enough to get the job done). And our government is incapable of being more evil than we are, whereas no such limitation exists on corporations.

And yes, I believe most Americans are stupid when it comes to an understanding of how their government works and the relationship of government to corporations. This is how we got the Tea Party.

Re:Incestuous (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314598)

God I wish I could mod you up...

Re:Incestuous (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311180)

about some perceived "evil" (a religious term) ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil [wikipedia.org]

It seems to be more complex than that.

Governments are the biggest, most "evil" corporations of all. Bloated, inefficient, and corrupt, they make the laws and therefore are above them.

And I thought 'governments' are bought by the 'corporations', and now I learn that 'governments' are above 'corporations'. My whole 'Weltanschauung' is shattered.

CC.

Re:Incestuous (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311636)

Governments are the biggest, most "evil" corporations of all. Bloated, inefficient, and corrupt, they make the laws and therefore are above them. Even worse, they have no incentive to please the people using their services because, unlike a corporation which must compete for customers in order to survive, you are forced to pay the government at gunpoint.

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were actually a rational person. Instead, you're one of "those" "libertarians". Nevermind, carry on. The men in white wil be by shortly. Alternatively, I hear there's a project to build islands just for you. Feel free to go check that out.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313746)

Trollololol!

Re:Incestuous (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316330)

you are forced to pay the government at gunpoint. Think that's hyperbole? Try not paying your taxes or showing up to court and see what happens.

That's probably because making the payment of tax voluntary has never really worked out too well.

Re:Incestuous (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311616)

Gawker better have some proof. They're the World of the News of Silicon Valley. In the meantime...

If it's true, the answer is simple: yes, of course they need to disclose it. Actually, it doesn't matter whether you're a celebrity or not. You're supposed to disclose for-profit postings.
If it's not, there's nothing to say.

It really all boils down to whether Gawker is making shit up or not.

Re:Incestuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37312714)

Maybe it's not as grave an issue, but "do celebrity compensated presences on Google+ require disclosure?" +Sammy Hagar, +Dolly Parton, +Madonna ., +Joe Satriani ... did they just up and join on their own volition?

Of course not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310402)

It is up to the consumer to perform due diligence and society in general to spread the word when something is shady. Aside from that, caveat emptor.

Re:Of course not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310428)

With the sheer number of idiots online, it is nice to know that the money is going to Google, not some Nigerian prince.

Re:Of course not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310908)

When's the FTC going to decree that journalists have a duty to disclose that they're almost all lefty assholes? Make them put it in all their manifestations of the profession they've trashed.

Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310422)

Missing critical information that Sergey Brin isn't really a "celebrity" so much as "google founder." The difference may not be legally relevant, but for fuck's sake, point out in the summary that he's famous for co-founding google, the service he is fucking using to make that "endorsement."

Also worth pointing out that the "endorsement" is less of an endorsement and more of a "explanation as to how he took the picture and mentioning it was a pleasant experience."

If CEOs are barred from mentioning online things about companies they've invested in, then that's not a -terrible- abuse of the laws, but it would still be abusive.

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310632)

Does his saying he enjoys it mean he endorses it?

Why yes, yes it does. [reference.com]

Do I think this is a bit overblown to call a ringing endorsement?

Why yes, yes I do.

Does it still make it a tiny bit shady?

Yes indeedy.

But if you don't agree, this rock that I have is excellent at repelling tigers. You should go to the tiger repelling rock store and get one. Sure I might have a reasonable share of it and would make a profit off it, but you don't NEED to know that, do you?

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310720)

I think you missed the point of that little Simpson's lesson. No, one would not need to know your investment in it since AN ANTI-TIGER ROCK DOESN'T WORK.

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310736)

I have an anti- anti-tiger rock donut!

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310814)

Anonymous Coward is quite famous around slashdot and is a known troll on top of that, so I have to ask, what's your affiliation with the people who make said tiger-producing donuts?

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310914)

A celebrity can be any VIP or important person, and I'd say that being a co-founder of Google qualifies. I'd also consider Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to be celebrities.

Also worth pointing out that the "endorsement" is less of an endorsement and more of a "explanation as to how he took the picture and mentioning it was a pleasant experience."

Praising the service is an endorsement. If you're going to praise it, you should disclose that you're involved with it.

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (1)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311500)

Missing critical information that Sergey Brin isn't really a "celebrity" so much as "google founder."

If you don't know who Sergey Brin is, you're reading the wrong website.

Re:Celebrity? Endorsement? OBJECTION!!! TROLL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313584)

Pfft, he's just the 24th richest man in the world. Maybe when he's in the top 10 people will notice him.

yes (1)

MichaelKristopeit351 (1968158) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310450)

from the celebrities to the IRS.

Celebrity endorsements? (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310454)

I assume that any time some celebrity says they like something, they are doing it for money. Maybe not Sally Struthers, but everyone else. To assume otherwise, seems to me, is foolish. It's their job after all. We all use our skills and specialities at work right? Well, celebrities speciality is notoriety. It's no different really. We all depend on other people's expertise, but the trick is figuring out if the expertise is genuine or being paid for by somebody.

Re:Celebrity endorsements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310532)

I assume that any time some celebrity says they like something, they are doing it for money. Maybe not Sally Struthers, but everyone else.

She was doing it for the food.

How much Google stock Linux has? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310460)

I always thought it was kind of distasteful for Linus to use the "invite only" commercial Google+ for Linux announcements lately when there are plenty of free and open places. How much Google stock does he have?

Wow! That sounds great! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310466)

He likes them so much that he went as far as investing in them! It must be a great way to travel!

Sergey Brin (0)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310470)

Is he a celebrity?

Re:Sergey Brin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310638)

We're talking slashdot celebrieties.

Re:Sergey Brin (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311146)

We're talking slashdot celebrieties.

So, like a Physics Club formal, it's sad and demented, but sorta social?

Re:Sergey Brin (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313056)

he is a geeklebrity. after all, everyone on slashdot knows who he is, he must be famous!!

disclosures for eveybody (4, Insightful)

renegade600 (204461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310490)

to me, disclosures should only be required if they are getting any type of compensation from the company - directly or indirectly. But then I think the rule should apply to everyone, not just celebrities.

Re:disclosures for eveybody (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311086)

But then I think the rule should apply to everyone, not just celebrities.

The law covers consumers, experts, and celebrities -- bloggers included. So whether people think Sergey is a celebrity or not (I do -- even if he's not a household name), his endorsement and financial ties to the company require disclosure under FTC guidelines.

In my opinion, I am not a lawyer, blah blah.

Airships sail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310492)

Airships sail, they don't fly.

Re:Airships sail (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310550)

Oh can we let go of such antiquated uses of language? When airships move by floating on the surface of the ocean then you can say they sail. While they're floating through the skies it's going to be called "flying." Don't like it? Too bad. Ask anyone if what airships do looks like sailing or flying and everybody except you and your history buff club is going to say "flying."

Re:Airships sail (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316412)

Airships sail, they don't fly.

So when they plummet to the ground in a massive fireball (as is the fate of all airships sooner or later) they're sinking, not crashing?

Aren't they all (1)

Trufagus (1803250) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310556)

I generally assume that any endorsement has some sort of commercial arrangement behind it. The only exception would be a recommendation from a friend and even those can sometimes be suspect.

Now, I don't mean to belittle this issue - the clear separation of paid and unpaid content is extremely important - but the stuff in this example doesn't seem that bad. Consider, for comparison, the lack of disclosure involved in political blogs and other online media...

He can just rephase it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310574)

"I liked the tour so much, I bought the company!"

Re:He can just rephase it (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311150)

I think Victor Kiam has prior art.

What is the legal definition of a Celebrity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310600)

...exactly?
That term has been thrown around like the feces of the local monkey group.

What exactly IS a celebrity?

Re:What is the legal definition of a Celebrity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37310644)

It's someone with more than x% of social network y's membership.

Stupid regulation? (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37310918)

I'm a progressive person, regulations don't scare me. But stupid regulations should be killed, and this one seems really stupid to me.

Re:Stupid regulation? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311392)

How is it stupid? The public has a right to not be misled in advertising, and if someone is being paid to make an endorsement, the public needs to be informed that it's a paid endorsement. It's been that way for decades on TV and radio, and this is merely an extension of the same policy in order to cover social media (which the prior regulations already covered via case law anyway). There's nothing stupid about the regulation itself.

What I think you may be upset about is the idea that the regulation may apply in this scenario, but the simple truth is that it doesn't apply here at all here. The regulations allow for people to endorse whatever they want without disclosing relationships, so long as they aren't being paid for the endorsement, and since no payment appears to have taken place here, Brin acted within the law when he didn't provide a disclosure. That said, ethically, it might have been a good idea for him to disclose his investment anyway, even if he was under no legal obligation to do so, but that's another matter entirely.

Re:Stupid regulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37312452)

I can see ops point of view. In this case the regulation (if it in fact was required in this case) does seem a bit stupid. Actual bought and paid for endorsements should require disclosure.

But you bring up a good point, but i dont see any ethically driven reason to disclose unless you are attempting to promote a product/service because of your investment. and more so a pattern of it. A single post or comment really doesnt seem like a big deal. If there is a pattern of consistent promotion, perhaps there would be an ethical obligation.

The real question! (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311022)

How could Google let someone so important on that deathtrap? Some broad gets on with a staticky sweater and it's "Oh the humanity!"

Re:The real question! (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311124)

So kids at birthdays with big sweaters have been in danger for years? Oh the huge manitee!
(I can't really recall the last large helium explosion).

To answer the question in the summary (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311326)

No.

So, would the ringing endorsement of Zeppelin tour operator Airship Ventures that Sergey Brin gave to his 200,000+ Google+ followers last week fall into that category?

The simple answer is that there needs to be some form of payment exchanged before you can consider Airship Ventures to be an advertiser, and no disclosure needs to occur if there isn't an advertiser involved. If Brin had a great experience with them and wanted to speak highly of them of his own accord, he's welcome to do so without disclosing anything, regardless of whether or not he had invested in them (though, ethically, it would still be best to disclose your personal interest in a company in a situation like that). If, on the other hand, he was paid by them for an endorsement, he needs to disclose his relationship with the company. Since there's no mention of a payment having occurred, we can say that he didn't act contrary to the FTC's regulations.

Or, in other words, this was much ado about nothing.

Re:To answer the question in the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311640)

But how is this different than market analysts recommending stock? They can just say "omg this stock is so amazing everyone should buy it!" and not tell you that they own it. Of course I always find it weird that these guys will recommend stocks they don't own. I mean if you love the stock so much and are sure it's a winner why are you telling me about it and not investing in it yourself? Still if there's a law for analysts who own stock how is that different than a "celebrity" who owns -private- stock in the company?

Re:To answer the question in the summary (2)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312084)

Or, in other words, this was much ado about nothing.

Or to be more blunt, this story is a (painfully obvious) troll / astroturf / FUD.

Recently there's been a lot of this on Slashdot; I get the feeling somebody has realized that Slashdot, with its, er, extremely lax editorial standards, and reasonably large readership, is a great place to satisfy his daily quota of anti-Google activity...

Fucking boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311522)

I'd rather a warning that posts by such 'celebs' can be mind-numbingly dull. On G+, I put Brin into my following circle thinking I might get some interesting stuff on search, you know, the shit he got very rich with and should be a world expert on.

All I could see was lots of crap photos of him paragliding - and hundreds of extremely sycophantic comments from creeps (and also - do creeps really believe that their 'front' isn't seen through?).

What a waste of fucking time. I really should know better.

Would it make more sense... (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312316)

...for them to disclose when they're NOT endorsing? Wouldn't that be the more unusual event that should be brought to our attention?

Surely noone still thinks celebrities are getting up there to extoll the virtues of particular products out of the kindness of their heart, right?!

People need to adjust their defaults if not

NT? (1)

burleywinz (1247404) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312408)

from the site http://www.airshipventures.com/about [airshipventures.com] "Specifically, Eureka is a Zeppelin NT. The NT stands for New Technology." Are we sure Microsoft isn't an investor too?

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313436)

A proper use of the word *disclosure*, unlike the addiction Slashdotters have for using the word *disclaimer* for anything about themselves. It's *disclosure* dammit, practically *all* *of* *the* *time*!

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