FTC to Fine Bloggers for Non-Disclosure

By Posted in - Public Relations on October 6th, 2009 2 Comments

Yesterday, the FTC announced it will impose fines up to $11,000 for bloggers not disclosing payment or the changing hands of anything of “material value.”

While this may come as a shock to the system for some, it shouldn’t really change much for those PR and social media marketing practitioners who have been disclosing information all along.

For example, when I’m conversing with outdoor bloggers about a new pair of Costa sunglasses and I offer them a sample to test out for their readers, they know who I work with and what I’m doing. Likewise, most of the bloggers with whom I have relationships already disclose when they’re testing out a sample of a new product for their readers.

There’s sure to be lots of gray area with this new ruling and hopefully we can all work together to make sure we’re providing authentic, transparent information to consumers. Ideally, this development will work to stop some of the more shady marketing practices out there, which is what it’s intended to do.

What do you think? Is the FTC overstepping its bounds? Was this ruling necessary to provide consumers with more transparent information? How will it change your relationships with bloggers?

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  • CourtneySauve -

    October 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    As a beauty blogger, it’s more than a little frustrating. The majority of us would like to see some laws laid down for all the women’s magazines out there. Why are they exempt? Their reviews and featured products aren’t based on the what is in the reader’s best interest–it all boils down to the massive amounts of freebies getting tossed their way or how much that “mention” is benefiting them.

  • liza -

    October 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Courtney, this brings up an excellent conversation. I don’t know enough about the new legislation to know if magazines or other media genres who conduct product reviews are being considered to follow the same rules as bloggers.

    I’d love to hear from some other folks who might be more familiar with the new FTC ruling to let us know whether or not magazines are going to have to follow the same rules. I’ll do some research, too, and see if I can find any information.

    Great feedback, thanks!

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