At October 5, the FTC announced that starting December 1, 2009, a new set of rules for testimonials and endorsement for bloggers will be in place.
It’s their intention to protect potential buyers by disclosing the relationship between advertiser and endorsers, specifically on blogs.
While the FTC explicitly states that…
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.
…it would be very wise to follow the guidelines to prevent yourself from getting into troubles.
If you think that’s complete nonsense and nothing like that can happen to you, or if you’re interested in knowing how it feels to be sued by the FTC, then read this blog post by Frank Kern:
As you can see, Frank didn’t expect to be sued either. But it happened!
And when this happens to you, you’re toast!
While you’re there, also read Frank’s advice about these new guidelines mentioned above:
New FTC Thing Is A Bigger Deal Than You Might Think.
Thanks to my friend Joel Bomane from Marseille, France, for both links.
…read from my viewpoint as an attorney, albeit one who does not currently practice in this field professionally.
And that’s were my main problem lies with these guides.
They’re too ambiguous.
In this new Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials they try to protect innocent users seeing specific results mentioned in testimonials and endorsement as ‘typical’.
But if, in Frank’s weight loss example, Annie says she’s lost 950 pounds and Jenny would mention a loss of only 150 pounds, what result would be ‘typical’?
You just don’t know and one other thing…
I don’t know how many Ex FTC Lawyers you can consult.
I don’t know one of them. And IF I knew one, would his advise prevent me from going wrong? I doubt it.
Fortunately, Whitney gives us some great examples of good disclosures.
My guess is that more examples will be available soon, so keep an eye on the topic.
Finally, I also found a post about FTC Fake Bait & Disclosure by Andy Beard. It seems he has an old WordPress disclosure plugin that shows a (short) disclaimer for certain keywords. It’s contextual and I don’t know how it exactly works, but Andy asks if there’s enough interest in using this plugin.
Check it out and if you’re interested, write a comment.
If there are enough people interested, Andy may update the plugin.
Could be useful.
Oh, almost forgot:
Don’t take anything in this post (or anywhere else) as legal advice. I’m not a qualified legal advisor! Just expressing my opinion for your entertainment.
What You Don’t Know About The New FTC Rules On Disclosure
Is This The End of Affiliate Marketing?
FTC Values Sponsored Conversations at $11,000 Apiece.
Websites And Law Across Borders (FTC versus EU)
Regulations Advertisers in USA and EU Should Know About
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