PR firm Reverb Communications has come under fire from the FTC for getting its employees to anonymously write reviews on iTunes without disclosing their working relationship with the title. The company was sneakily giving its own games glowing summaries, and that's apparently considered quite shady.
Reverb has become the first "victim" of the new Internet endorsement guidelines imposed last year. The guidelines require advertising agencies to be open about their connection to the products they're endorsing, be it on a blog, via Twitter, or on iTunes. Basically, PR companies can't pretend they're "average joes" giving an honest review, like people did back in the days of snake oil salesmen.
The company has not been fined or otherwise punished, but has nonetheless agreed to remove all of its reviews from iTunes. A victory for the FTC, but should the Internet be regulated like this? It's a knotty issue, that weighs Internet freedom against consumer protection.
What do you reckon? Should Reverb have been smacked down, or should the Internet be an "anything goes" kind of place?
[Update: Reverb has made an official statement. Read below for the PR firm's comments]
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