FTC Internet Advertising Guidelines for Bloggers, Internet & Affiliate Marketers

Testimonial Advertisements & Celebrity Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission has finally issued an update to their guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials as used on the internet and social media. The last update was in 1980, well before the influence of websites, blogs and social media.

If you are a blogger, affiliate marketer or internet marketer, you need to be aware of how these revisions affect you and your business. You may want discuss these changes with your attorney and make adjustments to your web site, blog or social media campaigns.

The full text of the press release is available here.

The full text of the Act is available here.

In summary, the clarifications to the FTC Act are:

1) Advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.

2) “Material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. So, Bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

3) Celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

It’s a good idea to ensure your web site, blog and social media strategy are following these new guidelines for the use of testimonial advertising and endorsements.

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