Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission issued revised guidelines that advise bloggers who make money from endorsements to clearly disclose their relationships with advertisers.
The main thrust of the 81-page document, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” occurs in a statement on page 75, which reads:
When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience), such connection must be fully disclosed.
Unfortunately, the guidelines, which go into effect December 1, have no teeth.
- There are no rules specifying how disclosures must be made, other than that they should be clearly visible.
- Furthermore, there are no penalties for violating the guidelines.
- Monitoring will be reactive rather than pre-emptive with investigations occuring only after a number of complaints have been made about a certain blog.
As such, scammers will continue to make false and misleading claims and those who don't grasp the concept of ‘caveat emptor' will continue to waste their money.
My recommendation – Be a Super Affiliate blogger. Post your disclosure statements. Make sure your visitors understand the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising on your site – not only for their protection, but also to enhance your credibility as a reliable source of information.
Build trust – build your customer base – increase your sales.