06/10/2009

FTC Changes Targets Bloggers

The FTC released its final guide governing endorsements and Testimonials.

These changes now incorporate testimonial advertisements, bloggers and celebrity endorsements.

The bloggers, who were until now exempt from this, joins other ‘word of mouth marketers’.

What does the FTC Guide say about blogger’s?
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. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.


However, these new FTC guidelines are sure to get negative reactions from the blogosphere.

For example, Jeff Jarvis at the BuzzMachine opines the FTC has made many wrong assumptions.
First, Pay Per Post et al, as I realized late to the game, are not aimed at fooling consumers. Who would read the boring, sycophantic drivel its people write? No, they are aimed at fooling Google and its algorithms. It’s human spam. And it’s Google’s job to regulate that.