FTC: Bloggers Must Reveal When Paid for Reviews

The FTC yesterday announced an update to the rules that govern the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, stating that bloggers and online reviewers must disclose when they receive payment for a post or review.

This is the first update to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising since 1980 and the new revisions state that bloggers who receive cash or in-kind payment to review a product must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

As you can imagine, there's been a mixed reaction to this one. NYT cites Linda Goldstein, a partner at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, a law firm that represents three marketing groups, who points out just one flaw in the new revisions.

“If a product is provided to bloggers, the F.T.C. will consider that, in most cases, to be a material connection even if the advertiser has no control over the content of the blogs.”

The new rules come into effect on December 1 and will carry a fine of up to $11,000 per violation.

How do you think the new rules will change how blogs conduct reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

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33 comments
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    Top Comments
  • NegativeX
    Good.

    I can name a half dozen sites where it's blatantly obvious the "reviewers/bloggers" are paid off, by the company they are reviewing a product for.

    Any effort to help push truth in advertising is a-ok' in my book.
    21
  • claudeb
    I agree with this regulation. It protects me, the consumer, from false information.
    16
  • NegativeX
    "“If a product is provided to bloggers, the F.T.C. will consider that, in most cases, to be a material connection even if the advertiser has no control over the content of the blogs.”"
    ----------------------------------------

    As long as the reviewer/blogger states that he cannot keep the product as compensation, I don't see a problem with having to disclose this fact.

    We all already know, in order to review something, you generally have to "use" it.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • NegativeX
    Good.

    I can name a half dozen sites where it's blatantly obvious the "reviewers/bloggers" are paid off, by the company they are reviewing a product for.

    Any effort to help push truth in advertising is a-ok' in my book.
    21
  • NegativeX
    "“If a product is provided to bloggers, the F.T.C. will consider that, in most cases, to be a material connection even if the advertiser has no control over the content of the blogs.”"
    ----------------------------------------

    As long as the reviewer/blogger states that he cannot keep the product as compensation, I don't see a problem with having to disclose this fact.

    We all already know, in order to review something, you generally have to "use" it.
    13
  • claudeb
    I agree with this regulation. It protects me, the consumer, from false information.
    16