New FTC Guidelines Take Effect

by Dan on December 7, 2009

penalty

As of the 1st of December, the new FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising went into effect.

The Guides state that:

  • Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions and true experience of the endorser. If paid actors are used, this fact must be disclosed.
  • Endorsements may not contain any representations which would be deceptive, or could not be substantiated, if made directly by the advertiser.
  • Endorsements must be representative of what consumers can reasonably expect to achieve. Any claim made by the endorser must reflect the opinion or experience of a significant proportion of consumers. Disclaimers like “results not typical” are no longer sufficient.
  • All material connections between the advertiser and the endorser (including research or medical organizations) that consumers would not expect must be disclosed, including free products or monetary compensation.

The full FTC guidelines can be found here.

What does this mean for bloggers?

Firstly, the FTC only operates in the USA so if you don’t have any offices or servers in the USA, it’ll be hard for the FTC to action the new guidelines.

If you are based in the USA then you will need to be honest about any payments or free products that you receive from the endorsers.

This applies not only to websites in general, but also to bloggers who provide reviews, twitter users, facebook users etc.

Usually adding a disclosure policy page to your blog will cover all posts within. If you are making money from your blog, or have sponsered links, make sure your blog adheres to the new FTC guidelines. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Dan Signature New FTC Guidelines Take Effect

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