Friday, December 4, 2009

New FTC Policy For Bloggers

It has always been my intention to fully disclose any relationships with the various companies/products I write about here on Gluten Free Raleigh. In cases where I am compensated, I have made that known (see Triumph Dining post here). I will continue this policy in the future and will now disclose when companies offer me free samples of their products.

Below is some information about a brand new Policy/Guideline that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made effective on 12/1/2009. The guideline deals with full disclosure and Gluten Free Raleigh will comply fully. Transparency is critical to my credibility with my readers. In addition, I must be careful to confirm the accuracy of any statements that I make about a product or service that I am writing about and am responsible for what I write.

New FTC Guideline for Bloggers
The Guidelines issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on October 5, 2009 relate to endorsement and testimonial advertising. These new Guidelines went into effect on December 1, and reflect the FTC’s interpretation with respect to federal law relating to advertising. These new Guidelines specifically apply to bloggers and could impose liability on bloggers for endorsements or testimonials.

The revised Guidelines state that:
-The Guidelines apply to Bloggers and online word-of-mouth marketers and require them to disclose any material connection to a company when reviewing the company’s products or services (failure to disclose any payment or receipt of free product from an advertiser or someone acting on their behalf could expose you to liability);
-Both advertisers and endorsers can be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement (if you were given a product for free or were paid to write a review, then the claims you make about the product must be accurate and substantiated);
-Advertisements containing consumer endorsements, or testimonials, must disclose what results a reasonable consumer could expect from the product and can no longer rely on a disclaimer that “results may vary”.

The complete revised Guidelines can be found here. The FTC has also posted several short videos explaining the Guidelines here.


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