Federal Trade Commission Orders "Clear and Conspicuous" Disclosure For Blogs
The Federal Trade Commission has announced revised rules guiding advertisement, endorsements and disclosure for bloggers. These new rules will particularly affect car bloggers, due to the heavy influence that advertising relationships exert in editorial decisions by auto journalists. And the seemingly undying trend in mainstream auto “journalism” towards pimpatorials. Needless to say, they also validate TTAC’s long-standing disclosure policy. From the FTC’s release:
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. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization.
The only downside:
The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.