A few months ago, I posted about a Blogger Code of Ethics in which bloggers who receive goods or services and then write about them, should disclose this fact to their readers. It’s not an unrealistic expectation because perceptions change when you know whether the writer is benefitting from what they are writing about. Objectivity may change if a blogger thinks the pipeline of goods and services might stop.
The US Federal Trade Commission has announced that bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. If they do not, the FTC may levy a fine of up to $11,000.
“The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement.”
A link to the announcement is here.
Thanks to my friend Julie for telling me about the FTC alert.