If you get paid to blog or you get free stuff and then blog about it, this applies to you. The FTC revised their Endorsement and Testimonial Guides which take effect on December 1, 2009. This also extends to all other forms of endorsement and social media.
First, I’m not a lawyer, but I am a marketer, blogger, vlogger, tweeter, and I work with a lot of influential bloggers (such as New Marketing Labs), podcasters and more. So I really care about this stuff.
My personal take on this Ruling is fairly straight forward:
1. If you act on behalf of an advertiser (you get paid), say so and be very obvious
2. If you got something for free, and blogged a review, say so and be very obvious
3. If your an advertiser you should be clear about your disclosure requirements, and monitor
4. Be transparent and honest
5. Read the Ruling, not complying could cost you $11,000 per violation
All in all it’s common sense. Disclosure is at the heart of credibility. This is truly the media half of social media. As our industry evolves and scales, it’s no surprise that some regulation follows, and as far as disclosure is concerned, I think it’s good for business.
AJ Leon has made Winston Churchill a popular reference on this blog, so I thought you’d enjoy the following quote
“We must take change by the hand or rest assuredly, change will take us by the throat.”
If you want more information about the FTC Ruling, check out this article by Kelley Drye & Warren.
I would love to hear what you think about disclosure. Is it good or bad for social media? Does it represent a maturing of the industry?
Photo by: rversde23