Full Disclosure: FTC Regulations for Bloggers Take Effect Today

Today’s the day the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines for bloggers go into effect. That means that bloggers who get paid or receive freebies for posts must begin disclosing it on their Web sites. I don’t really have an issue with this; in fact, it helps to know that a blogger raving about her new Dyson vacuum or brand new Crocs actually got them for free, so I can decide for myself whether she’s sincere. Many bloggers I read have disclosed their freebies for a long time out of self-driven ethical responsibility. Is it a game-changer for PR? No, but it might help PR people to ask if the blogger is willing to follow the rules before sending off free merchandise or offering to pay for a trip. The biggest problem may reside with freshman bloggers who haven’t been engaged with the blogosphere long enough to realize that there ARE rules and that if they’re broken, the ramifications could be devastating.

What do you think about the FTC regulations for bloggers?

  • tyler

    I understand the premise is to protect consumers; however, what about the blogger that went to a conference, was given free software to try out as a thank-you gift (no ask to review it) and blogs about it. Are they held liable?

    How do you fit a disclaimer in a tweet when you say you love the new coffee flavored Yoplait yogurt?.. because Twitter is a blog, ya’know.

    P.S., Where do you find these blog rules? When you signup for Blogger or WordPress? wink

  • Marijean Jaggers

    Agreed! It’s sure to be a mess and I wouldn’t want to work for the FTC police trying to track it all down. My guess is they won’t worry about the little stuff; in fact, it would make sense if there was a dollar value threshold.

    Regarding the “rules” – that’s a brilliant idea but not likely to happen. I think the rules may be another blog post, or a book – stay tuned.

  • tyler

    Yeah, I don’t see the FTC fining tweens and grandmas over a Tweet (which, sounds familiar wink). But, I don’t know, even though it is small potatoes, those are technically covered under the new regulation, for sure. The dollar threshold sounds interesting maybe even reader size(?).

  • Marijean Jaggers

    Maybe to be on the safe side and to prove a point, all bloggers and Twitter users should completely overdo it, with disclaimers for everything. *This comment was brought to you courtesy of Starbucks, without which I would not be awake right now.

  • tyler

    ha, indeed!