Monday, October 19, 2009

Bringing Law and Order to the Wild Wild Blogosphere

The FTC is proposing changes to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising that are intended to increase transparency in word-of-mouth marketing.

Lesley Windle of writes that, if the changes are approved, bloggers will be required to disclose their relationships with sponsors and any compensation, including free samples, which they receive for their posts. They — and the companies that pay them — will also be held liable for making false or unsubstantiated claims about products.

I found this very interesting. Most reputable bloggers do already seem to disclose when they have accepted free samples for review or if they are being paid to write about a product. Those who don’t do so face a barrage of negative publicity — and the companies who sponsor them experience an erosion of trust. For example, Lifestyle Lift, a company that specializes in cosmetic surgery, was recently fined $300,000 by New York State for its use of fake consumer reviews, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Technorati Tags: FTC, Lifestyle Lift, New York State, The New York Times, transparency, Advertising, Blogosphere


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