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The FTC, Bloggers and Disclosure

It’s been nearly 30 years since the Federal Trade Commission  updated its guidelines for marketers and advertisers, and  the agency is looking at revising the guidelines so that those who promote or review products follow the laws governing truth in advertising. The new rules are designed to bring greater truth and disclosure to blogs, TV ads relying on testimonials and social media.

The updated guide has garnered the most press for its ruling that bloggers can be fined up to $11,000 if they don’t disclose that they got cash or products for posting a testimonial. While most bloggers and respected word-of-mouth marketing firms have required this disclosure, the ruling and its large penalty should help consumers trust online reviews. — Josh Smith in Results aren’t typical: FTC bringing truth to testimonials

The main concern is “transparency” ie. bloggers clearly declaring their relationship with their sponsors, and disclosing to their readers that they were compensated for the review when they are in receipt of a free product in exchange for their testimonial, or received some other kind of benefit.

As of December 1, the Federal Trade Commission is going to require bloggers, and prominent tweeters and Facebook types to disclose any paid endorsements to their followers, online friends and readers. These new rules have the potential to change everyone’s online habits. Here’s what you need to know –FTC’s New Rules for Bloggers: A Quick Guide

The FTC 81 page download on their web site outlines the new rule changes and examples that describe your obligations.

Blogger Disclosure – You can generate your own disclosure policy free of charge at

4 thoughts on “The FTC, Bloggers and Disclosure

  1. Hi Timethief,

    Have just found this post about the FTC Rules.

    Do these rules apply to adsense or amazon ads on a blog? Would it be best to put a disclaimer on a blog anyway?

    Love your site.

    Many thanks for any help.

    • I believe adsense is obvious advertising but participation in affiliate schemes may not be. It’s easy to create a disclosure statement for any cash or kind benefits received for endorsements, testimonials, and/or reviews that are not obvious. The bottom line here is transparency.

  2. timetheif, I came here expecting you are blogging about this and I found what I want so thanks so much. I don’t think I am wrong if I said you’ve retouching your theme so congrats :D

    • Hi Hicham
      Thanks for the visit. I’m so glad you found what you were looking for. IMHO the guidelines make sense. I’d like to see disclaimer statements on all blogs where the blogger is being recompensed in either cash or kind for their reviews.

      Your are right about my retouching this theme. It has several built in options for customization such as changing background colors, links colors, border colors and using an Alert box if you wish, it also allows for custom headers too, and I’ve been using them all from time to time.

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