Yesterday the FTC issued final guidelines Governing Endorsements and Testimonials. This impacts testimonial advertisements, bloggers, and celebrities who are compensated to parade products. This post will deal primarily with the impact it has on bloggers, and why the 81 page document may very well fall short of its objectives.
Note: I am not trained in the legal profession; therefore do not take this as legal advice. If you have concerns regarding the specifics of the FTC updates, please contact your legal counsel. I am in no way affiliated with the FTC, and do not, in any way, receive compensation reviewing the updated guidelines. :-)
The intent behind this update is protect consumers from the emotional euphoria accompanied with product endorsements people offer in the form of testimonials and paid promotion. Promoters have to disclose upfront how they are affiliated with the product, if they receive compensation, and consumer testimonials must indicate whether results are “typical” and if not, what “typical” results a potential consumer should expect.
Very loose terms.
What Do the New FTC Guidelines Mean for Bloggers?
Essentially, if you are being paid or receive any compensation to blog about a specific product, the FTC wants you to disclose it. In the world of social media, and connectedness, most successful bloggers who review products are already doing this.
The Problem with the FTCs Revised Guidelines
I’m in favor of these updates by the FTC, for the most part. There are way too many scams in the online marketing world, and if the FTC is successful, it should bode well for independent and small business online marketers who are legit. That said, my concern lies with the enforceability of these guidelines. How will they enforce them, when the terms are a bit loose to say the least, and policing the net is such a challenge? What makes for sufficient disclosure? How will they decide who to go after?
What Is An Affiliate Blogger to Do?
Write excellent reviews. Add value for your subscribers. Be sure to disclose clearly your relationship with the product creator. The truth is, this is good for business! It builds both credibility and trust with those in your market.
What Say You? Do the new guidelines, spook you, put a smile on your face, or are you in different altogether? Chime in below.
*Image from the FTC website