After reviewing the new FTC guidelines and reading the supplementary article, "Understanding the New FTC Guidelines" I was surprised that the issue of how businesses can use testimonials in advertising for online marketing had not been addressed before Dec. 1 of 2009. To think of all the years of online marketing and millions of scandals associated with fraudulent advertising can be overwhelming. For a level of enforcement to just now be reaching web 2.0 components such as blogs is quite disturbing.
Even now the FTC will only monitor the activity of dishonest opinions of products uses on a complaint by complaint basis. I understand that the quantity of advertising online is through the roof and incredibly difficult to monitor, but I have to think that there is a more efficient and protective way to look into false advertising programs before their effects have been felt by the general public.
At the same time I have to distribute some of the responsibility to the consumers to do their best to protect themselves from false advertising. As a part of the online community the burden to do your homework and be secure in your purchases and personal information is squarely on each of our shoulders. Too often are we tricked into the notion that something is too good to be true, and false or manufactured testimonials are just another branch of this identity theft tree. Thus, I think that the Socrates philosophy of questioning everything is the safest measure one can take with themselves onto the internet.