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FTC Changes Rules for Bloggers Who Endorse Products
May 29, 2010 11:06 AM | Tagged as Federal Trade Commission

If you place endorsements or testimonials on your Web site or blog, you need to know that the Federal Trade Commission has issued new rules on how to do legally do this. If affects endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of the relationships between advertisers and endorsers.

The FTC issued a statement in October to describe the changes, and those changes take affect today, December 1, 2009.

"Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor," the statement says.

In addition, when bloggers or "word-of-mouth" marketing strategies convey an endorsement, those issuing the endorsement must explain the relationship between themselves and the product or service being endorsed.

To comply, we suggest adding a disclaimer to your blog or Web site testimonial page. Here's an example:

Regarding Testimonials
NOTICE: Provided in accordance with FTC guidelines - 12/1/2009Testimonials posted to this website are the perspective of individuals who are successful and/or enthusiastic about their experience. Testimonials are not representative of everyone’s experience and only provide information about the individual’s experiences as to the point in time when they are provided. All testimonials are authentic and accurate. Testimonials may be edited for clarity or brevity. All claims have been documented and verified for accuracy. No one has been paid to share their stories here. Individual results will vary.

Regarding Product Reviews, Endorsements
NOTICE: Provided in accordance with FTC guidelines - 12/1/2009Products are reviewed on this site as a resource for our customers and website visitors. Paid advertising or placement is not permitted on this site. Any affiliate relationships will be disclosed within the individual articles, prior to providing the affiliate link.Review authors occasionally receive complimentary review copies of products from companies that believe their products will be of interest to our audience. Reviews posted here always provide honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences with the products. The views and opinions expressed here are that of the individual author. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation should be verified with the manufacturer, service provider or party in question.

Let us know what you think!

  • Do you feel that testimonials need to be regulated by the FTC? Is there a need?
  • Is the government stepping in where it doesn't belong?
  • Will you feel more confident buying products recommended by bloggers or Web sites now that these rules are in place?
  • Can you comply with these regulations?
  • Are you worried about "getting caught" if you unintentially violate these news rules?

To read the entire FTC statement, go to http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm. The FTC also has a video available to share more information about how these new rules affect bloggers specifically.


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