FTC Revises and Targets Bloggers

Maureen Alley
by Maureen Alley 06 Oct, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday updated its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising - last updated 29 years ago. And this new revision now includes bloggers.

It's an ongoing practice in the Web landscape that bloggers and Web professionals review products and services for payment of some kind. The FTC now views this practice as an endorsement. The revised guidelines now state those professionals must clearly disclose the relationship between themselves and the company providing the product or service.

Other noteworthy changes include:
- Simply stating "results not typical" on an ad is not good enough. Advertisers now need to clearly explain the advertised product or service is not what consumers should typically expect.

- If companies advertise results of research they sponsored, they must disclose this information to consumers.

- Celebrity endorsements also need to clearly state they are providing endorsements. The revision on this part of the Guides is that both the celebrity endorser and the advertiser can be liable for false claims. They also must explain their relationships anywhere the endorsement is taking place.