Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FTC Wants Full Disclosure from Bloggers

Attention all bloggers, blogger reviewers, product reviewers, etc if you get free products in exchange for reviews then you need to read this post at SheBlogs

From the SheBlogs.com site:

Why are these guidelines important to the blogging community? According to the new FTC guidelines, a blogger becomes an “advertiser” or “endorser” the moment that there is a “material connection” made between that blogger and the brand/product they are covering. These rules apply whether the blogger accepts payment, free product for review, or other forms of paid endorsement (read: sponsorships to travel to conferences). Further, the FTC Guides will affect posting by bloggers and consumers on other online media, including Twitter and other social networks. Pay-Per-Tweet services such as Ad.ly and Izea will be required to comply with these new guidelines.

While these rules previously focused on the companies releasing these marketing materials, these new rules affect everyone from bloggers and online content publishers, and contains very clear regulations and consequences associated with the use of paid testimonials in blogs, through several amendments to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising and Blogging, which address the important need to disclose connections between advertisers and endorsements. Failure to comply with these new guidelines can result in fines of up to $11,000 per incident.

The decisions regarding fines for violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but it is important to note that any blogger who receives cash, free product, sponsorship to travel to events or conferences, free lunches or drinks to discuss a product, or any other form of material compensation will no longer be considered an objective publisher, but an “endorser.” These new guidelines pose a hazard to professional bloggers, who view their blogs as a legitimate publishing platform, and will affect everyone in the publishing industry, although they serve an important purpose to the public.

Read more: http://www.sheblogs.org/2009/10/failure-to-disclose-can-be-costly-to-the-tune-of-11000-per-post/#ixzz0TH2m0SSu

Download the new guidelines from the FTC here.

In case you didn't know, I review products that I receive for FREE. This includes books. A lot of books I receive directly from authors or publishers, sometimes I check them out from the library. Maybe 4% of the books I review are ones I purchase.

Now since I don't get married over and over again I don't have much use for wedding related products so those posts and recommendations are all items that I come across and think are worthy of a mention.

As far as other products sometimes I post reviews on products I come across or that I have purchased but 99% of the time the products I review have been sent to me by companies in exchange for a review.

So there's my disclosure. This will also be published in the sidebars of my sites. And from now on I'll be sure to include things about free products in my posts as well. You better too to avoid being fined.

4 comments:

Holly said...

That is great info to know...thanks for passing it on.
Holly @ hip Weddings

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samojo said...

Good to see these rules in place. I think full disclosure is necessary to avoid any ambiguity.

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