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FTC Puts Bloggers on Notice About Free Gifts

October 7th, 2009 posted by · 2 Comments

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission warned that bloggers must disclose any free gifts or prizes they receive as a result of reviews and testimonials. Many tech bloggers have been receiving goods for years for writing an online review for a company’s newest product.

The new rules take effect December 1, and could result in sanctions, or a lawsuit, if violated.

The same rules are also in effect for advertisers, as well, who must also disclose who they award prizes or free goods to that are accounted thanks to the free invoice template most online business are doing right now. The only thing the FTC failed to say was how bloggers can disclose this information? Perhaps on year-end taxes?

One of the main reasons these rules were put in place was to protect the consumer, who should be reading a truthful review of a product, not a scripted one because the author is receiving something in return for providing good PR.

Personally, I don’t know how they plan on enforcing this, especially with so many blogs out there, including the most tiny and unpopular ones on that write reviews. Luckily, I don’t write many reviews, and even when I do, I don’t receive any sort of item for doing so.

Another thing to note is that the Federal Trade Commission only has jurisdiction in the U.S., which means only bloggers and advertisers in that country are affected.

Read the complete story at Yahoo! Finance.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Stefan MyAvatars 0.2

    They will most certainly go after big bloggers and make a warning example. I’m not sure how they will check it though but I guess they will see if you have any information about it on your website.

    You wrote that this law only affects U.S., but what have to be in the U.S.? If you move the blog to a host in Sweden, which laws are you under then?

  2. Chris Peterson MyAvatars 0.2

    Hey Chris!
    I think Stefan has made a valid point. Don’t you think it would not be possible to have such kinda transparent system as there are way too many discrepancies in the jurisdiction?