Thanks to Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea for the reminder: Proposed FTC Endorsement and Testimonial Ad Revisions Add Blogs, Message Boards, Street Teams.
The FTC is considering their first new revisions involving endorsements and testimonials in advertising since 1980, adding blogs, message boards, and street teams to their coverage, as well as imposing stricter guidelines for disclosures in ads.
* Example 5:
A skin care products advertiser participates in a blog advertising service. The service matches up advertisers with bloggers who will promote the advertiserís products on their personal blogs. The advertiser requests that a blogger try a new body lotion and write a review of the product on her blog.
Although the advertiser does not make any specific claims about the lotionís ability to cure skin conditions and the blogger does not ask the advertiser whether there is substantiation for the claim, in her review the blogger writes that the lotion cures eczema and recommends the product to her blog readers who suffer from this condition.
The advertiser is subject to liability for false or unsubstantiated statements made through the bloggerís endorsement. The blogger also is subject to liability for representations made in the course of her endorsement.
The blogger is also liable if she fails to disclose clearly and conspicuously that she is being paid for her services. [See section 255.5.]
In order to limit its potential liability, the advertiser should ensure that the advertising service provides guidance and training to its bloggers concerning the need to ensure that statements they make are truthful and substantiated. The advertiser should also monitor bloggers who are being paid to promote its products and take steps necessary to halt the continued publication of deceptive representations when they are discovered.
Do you know and understand your legal responsibilities in your jurisdiction(s)?
Hey, let's be careful out there.