The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a new set of guidelines today that deal with online advertising and endorsements. As a true sign of the times, today’s announcement addresses bloggers in particular. Fines could be as high as $11,000 for bloggers who do not properly disclose “material connections” to advertisers:
“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,” the FTC said in a statement. “Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.:
“The case of “a consumer who purchases a product with his or her own money and praises it on a personal blog or on an electronic message board” does not represent a commercial endorsement in the eyes of the FTC.
However, a blogger paid to post about advertiser’s product is covered by the rules, whether payment comes directly from the marketer or from a third-party acting on behalf of the marketer.
Read the entire FTC Release.