From 31st December, 2007, a new European directive aimed at increasing consumer protection comes into effect. One area it tackles is that of fake blogs (flogs – oh please), web sites, and reviews.
What this means in practice is that it will be against the law for businesses to post reviews of their own products and services, or to set up fake blogs and web sites that purport to be written by an independent member of the public.
It also means that, for example, authors cannot review their own book on commerce sites such as Amazon.
Quite how this is going to be policed is another matter. At least for the moment, the Internet lets people remain relatively anonymous. It wouldn’t be particularly difficult to post fake content online. Perhaps the inept CEO or marketing guy would cause their company to be caught out, but anyone with a bit of technical know-how can probably still slip under the government’s radar. In fact, it’s often bloggers and other online communities that finally catch out companies that think they can pull the wool over consumers’ eyes.