There is a lot of concern about what the Government is doing regarding blogging and endorsements on the internet and how it effects everyone. There are several new laws that go into effect on December 1, 2009.
This first video discusses the fact that many of these rules have been in place since 1980 but now they’re applying them to the latest social media programs. Endorsers must always reveal their relationship with advertisers because in the world of social media you cannot always tell what is an advertisement and what isn’t.
The second video discusses the fact that the FTC is interested in protecting consumers. Consumers want information about a product or service and often go online to do research. The FTC feels that we should want to know whether the person who’s getting the endorsement was paid for the endorsement or not, whether in actual money or a steady stream of free products.
The third video asks “What does the new FTC guide mean for bloggers?” For most, not very much. Most are just out there talking about their daily lives in such and it won’t mean much to them. But if you’re one of those bloggers involved in the marketing program with an advertiser and are being paid to blog about a product they need to disclose that relationship with the company.
The fourth video asks “How do bloggers follow the Endorsement Guides?” It’s quite simple. If the blogger does have a relationship with the company that needs to be revealed. For example they could say “ABC Company gave me samples of this product a try. Or, XYZ Company gave me free passes to their theme park to try it out for a day.” It’s not too complicated and it should be just straight forward and up front.
The fifth video asks the question “Is the FTC planning to sue Bloggers?”. They state that that is not why this guidance was created. Everybody needs to be playing by the same rules with other professional reviewer or an amateur reviewer. Just be upfront about the connections you have with the company and what conflict of interest you might have with them.
It seems that we need to be careful of using “sales phrases” in your endorsements. This is the thing they are most concerned about. Make things factual and real. You can’t put across that you are Betty Boop when you are really Steve Jones saying how much you love this eye-liner.
I personally feel that there is too much concern over this issue even though there are several big-time bloggers and marketers that are going to have to change their websites. This is all probably a good thing even I actually don’t want them involved in everything we as marketers do. I know that the FTC is just trying to protect people but 2 things need to happen: Marketers need to be honest in their dealings (I know that is asking a lot from some!) and secondly, people need to take responsibility for their actions.