FTC demands bloggers to disclose freebies

By on October 5, 2009, 2:45 PM
Moving forward with a plan to crack down on blogger kickbacks, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has officially issued an update to its guidelines regarding truth in advertising and in product endorsement that will require those reviewing products online to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from concerning companies. Penalties include up to $11,000 in fines per violation.

Although many question whether the FTC should have the authority to regulate what they consider to be individuals' free expression, the commission argues that this is just an extension of previously established rules to curb the use of deception in the marketplace. Ultimately they believe it will help consumers make well informed buying decisions when researching products online.

The FTC will obviously have a hard time enforcing these regulations -- after all, anyone with an Internet connection can set up a blog nowadays. Thus it's possible that their main focus will be on shady online marketers specializing in blogger ads rather than individual bloggers.

This marks the first time that the agency's "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" document has been updated since 1980, and extends to other areas as well such as celebrity endorsements "outside the context of traditional ads." The changes will come into effect on December 1.




User Comments: 2

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raybay said:

Interesting if true. Interesting if not true.

Another case of the FCC leaping before it looks.

This is a trap rule which the can inforce when they already know who is doing what to whom.

OUTLAWXXX said:

you mean FTC...Federal Trade Commission RayBay?

You might be thinking of the federal communications commission "FCC". The FTC is lazy in my opinion, and I'm just surprised they actually did something useful. This isn't a bad thing though their having bloggers do... but I also agree that actually trying to police this fully prob wont' work. Just go for the obvious ones that are really trying to screw over consumers and only wanna make a quick buck.

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