A Quick Guide to the New FTC Rules for Bloggers

952313_gavelThere’s been a lot of talk and worry in the blogosphere about the new FTC rules for bloggers.

The new guidelines cover disclosures about affiliate links and testimonials, and everyone’s trying to figure out how to comply with them.

The intent is to make sure that bloggers disclose whether they make money from a link on their site, if they were paid (or received a freebie) in return for a review, and to let consumers know what they can expect to get if they buy a product or service from the blogger.

They’re also designed to prevent deceptive ads, you know the kind that promise you’ll lose 90 pounds in 6 weeks without exercise or the ones that claim you can make $5,000 a month sending out emails (spamming!).

But how much do you have to disclose? What is a “typical” result?

Here are some tips summarized from Marketing Sherpa (October 20, 2009):

Note that neither they, nor I, are attorneys. Check with yours before going forward.

1. Typical results

The results you show must be “typical.” You can’t use a best-case, overachiever any more, with a disclaimer saying that your results may be different.

2. Disclaimers should be conspicuous.

No small print allowed. It has to be something that’s clearly visible.

3. General testimonials don’t need disclaimers

4. Disclose anything that might have an effect on credibility, such as your sponsorship of a study, or whether the people giving testimonials were compensated.

5. Disclose payments or endorsements. If someone sends you something, say so.

Read the full article here (access open until October 30).

Photo: Jason Morrison