Monday, October 5, 2009

Much Anticipated Federal Trade Commission Guidelines Finally Released


Listen up fellow blogger peeps - next time you open your front door to a free box of cupcakes, a brand new whatchamacallit, or a shiny new bicycle for your kidlet, you better fess up that it was free or that fifty-cent cupcake could cost you $11,000.

The Federal Trade Commission finally released it's revised Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials. The chatter in the blogosphere about what this will mean for us has been non-stop. What does it mean? Well, let's take a quick peak at a selection of the 81 page document....

Excerpt from FTC press release:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.


Personally, I don't think this will change the way I publish my particular blogs. I don't do a ton of reviews and many of them are simply things that I personally have an opinion about and want to share. In fact, I often find myself qualifying an opinion with "this is not a sponsored post" when I feel particularly strong about a product or service. I have a Full Disclosure tab on my blogs and I usually indicate when I have received free loot. Am I covered?

comments

8 Responses to "Much Anticipated Federal Trade Commission Guidelines Finally Released"
  1. Jennifer said...
    October 6, 2009 at 12:10 AM

    And the crack down begins... LOL! $11,000 is some serious cheddar. Geez Louise, if I ever did a review on something that I got for free, I'd plaster it all over the place, "This review is sponsored! I got this thing for free! Don't fine me FTC!" ;-)

  2. Kathy said...
    October 6, 2009 at 4:38 AM

    Wow, how is this going to get monitored? Seriously....

  3. Heatherlyn said...
    October 6, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    I had no idea that the government took bloggers and their reviews so seriously.

    It's a little funny. As if getting a product to review for free would change the honesty of the review? Maybe? The blogs I've seen with product reviews are very honest. But, whatever. I guess you can say "someone gave this to me to reiveiw" and make the government happy. 11,000 is a pretty hefty fine!

  4. Jen @ After The Alter said...
    October 6, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    I think this new rule is ridiculous! I don't get much free stuff...but a blog is a personal thing and bloggers are just stating their opionion. Who cares if they got stuff for free to give their opinion??? if people want to read and take the opinion that's their choice! I hate when the government gets involved.

  5. Randi Troxell said...
    October 6, 2009 at 7:53 AM

    though all beauty products i review are all things i bought myself... i still think this is CRAZY... why does it even matter!!!

  6. Mrs Cooper said...
    October 6, 2009 at 8:40 AM

    I saw this article on ABC news this morning and blogged about it myself. Two great minds blog alike.

  7. Knit Purl Gurl said...
    October 6, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    I think there is merit in both arguments for and against this FTC ruling. I'm waiting to see how it all unfolds. The FTC will not be able to monitor all blogs - it will likely turn into spiteful bloggers trying to turn in other bloggers (which in my opinion, is good for no one.) I have a disclosure tab and have started to additionally put a sentence on the bottom of my review that states my disclosure policy applies with a link to the policy itself. I have no idea if that will cover it.

  8. Nishant said...
    October 10, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    though all beauty products i review are all things i bought myself... i still think this is CRAZY... why does it even matter!!!


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