Federal Trade Commission Orders "Clear and Conspicuous" Disclosure For Blogs

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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.

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  • Info Info on Oct 06, 2009

    Agree with M. Karesh; the FTC isn't restricting freedom of speech it is simply saying if that a "blogger" must revealed if he is being paid for that speech. We think it is a good move.

  • J Sutherland J Sutherland on Oct 07, 2009

    oh man-I have to turn myself in right away in a desperate attempt to be proactive. As soon as a 58 Fury recreation becomes a consumer fact I'm going to endorse it to the point of taking a blood oath-even if it comes with a Lada motor. http://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/

  • Durishin Durishin on Oct 07, 2009

    Isn't this what TTAC was suppossed to be about anyway? You did it RF!

  • Cleek Cleek on Oct 07, 2009

    Why would anyone in their right mind believe a blog festooned with "Google ads" and affiliate click through links be run by fair minded and detached philosopher kings (and queens) vs.. someone pursuing [s] the almighty dollar [/s] financial benefit.