Bloggers and Social Media Users Must Disclose Freebies, Comps, and Paid Endorsements Under New FTC Rules
by NicoleD, Former Moderator
- Created: March 23, 2010, 10:58 pm
- Updated: February 10, 2011, 4:19 pm
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that it has approved new advertising guidance on endorsements and testimonials. The new rules affect product endorsements in blog posts, chat rooms and other social media web sites, and comment/message sites. Several changes to the existing Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising include:
Freebies, Comps, and Paid Endorsements - Any payments or free products given to endorsers by an advertiser must be disclosed. The new rules specify that a blogger or social media user who receives payment or free merchandise to review products or services is subject to the endorsement rules, and the endorser must disclose their compensation relationship with the seller.
What this means to you: If you review a product and in exchange receive payment or freebies, you must state this clearly in your post.
'Results Not Typical' Clauses - In the past, advertisements featuring consumers who experienced uncommon results when using a product or service were covered under a 'results not typical' claim. Now, advertisers must clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.
What this means to you: If your advertisement shows consumer testimonials (for example, a weight-loss system), you must clearly state the typical results of that product.
Fines - The old rules did not explicitly state that endorsers could be held liable for their statements. The updated rules clarify that both advertisers and endorsers may be fined for false or unsubstantiated claims.
What this means to you: Educate yourself on the new rules and disclose endorsement relationships to avoid false or misleading advertising claims.
The new rules go into effect on December 1, 2009.
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