The US Federal Trade Commission has this week announced new guides relating to Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers and Celebrity Endorsements. Internet Marketing Event Organizers take note! While there are many gray areas that need testing, e.g. Does is an affiliate relationship an “important connection between advertisers and endorsers”?
My reading is that affiliates who are not employees of the advertiser may not be caught in the net, if you are an employee-affiliate, there could be a problem.
The most worthwhile aspect to the Guide, for consumers, is that it brings a new transparency to Reviews and Testimonials – if it is enforced. But as the FTC has jurisdiction only in the US, it is unclear what the implications are for international internet marketers.
Here is a snapshot of the FTC Announcement, with a link to the FTC page:
“The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.
The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.
Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.
>>> Go to the FTC Announcement