It’s been a few days since the FTC announced it’s new rule in the USA regarding endorsements. The rule states that advertisers, bloggers and celebrities must disclose any payments or free gifts they are getting for reviewing a product, with a maximum fine of $11,000 being quoted.
I’ve seen a few different reactions to this decision this week but the general consensus seems to be that most bloggers think this is a good move.
I’ve only wrote a few paid reviews for Blogging Tips however all of these reviews have been fully disclosed to readers to make sure that they understood a payment was received for reviewing it. In my opinion, that’s the only way to do things.
I really don’t think it is in any bloggers benefit to sell out their readers and recommend a poor product in exchange for a gift or cash payment as they will quickly lose their integrity. And if the readers of a blog don’t trust the owner, they are very unlikely to purchase any products or services from them (and might unsubscribe too).
I know everyone doesn’t think this way though. I’ve read many positive reviews of products and services which I knew were very poor, but nothing was disclosed within the review so we have to assume that the review was unbiased.
Some advertisers aren’t too keen on disclosure either. I’ve had a few advertisers back out after I told them that all paid reviews had to have a message at the end saying the review was paid for.
Who does the new FTC Rule affect?
How pro-active will the FTC be in enforcing this new rule? It is highly unlikely that they will waste their time targeting bloggers with a few hundred readers, or even a few thousand. It is more likely that this rule was introduced to generally discourage biased reviews and to make it easier for them to fine high profile bloggers and celebrities who break the rules.
Though is it possible for them to effectively enforce it anyway? Surely every product recommendation isn’t going to come under scrutiny, it just isn’t practical. I think it will remain fairly easy for people to give positive reviews if everything is under the radar i.e. if they are not blatant about it.
Perhaps I’m being negative. I do welcome this new rule as it discourages biased reviews, but I believe this doesn’t really affect the majority of us as it’s only high profile celebrities and bloggers which will be under the spotlight.
What do you think about this new rule?
* Thanks to DaneBlogger, who brought this news story to my attention on Monday 🙂