The FTC has finally dropped the hammer on paid reviews. This finally settles the long debate about blogging and ethics. Whereas before it was all about your moral code, today it is now a legal mandate. Bloggers, according to the Federal Trade Commission should have full disclosure for doing paid reviews, or suffer consequences.
Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.
Interestingly enough, the “consequences” may actually be paid by the advertiser:
To placate such fears, Cleland said the FTC will more likely go after an advertiser instead of a blogger for violations. The exception would be a blogger who runs a “substantial” operation that violates FTC rules and already received a warning, he said.
So what this really means: there’s nothing to be worried about if you’ve been a good boy.