The FTC and Blogger Endorsements – Fine of $11,000

By Shannon Gosney
In Blogging Randomness
October 5, 2009
7 Comments
3364 Views

I just received an email from a PR Rep (thank you) letting me know that the FTC has published a revised 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 last time the Act was updated was in 1980.  The changes that were made specifically affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, and Celebrity Endorsements.  I know this has been talked about for a while, but it is finalized now.

So, what does this mean?  This means that within each review post or paid post, the blogger publishing the post must disclose that he or she received a product or payment from the company.  In other words, if an item or money is exchanged between the hands of a blogger and advertiser, it must be disclosed in the post.  This will take effect as of December 1st, 2009 – although many bloggers, including myself, have started doing it already.  I also know of companies that I work with that have had their review bloggers doing it for the past few months.  Those who fail to do so will encounter of fines up to $11,000.  That is a lot of money for not writing up one statement.  So, if you are a blogger, be sure to disclose in your post that you received a product or payment to write the post and keep from being fined this huge amount!!

If it is helpful, I wrote a site-wide Disclosure Policy within my blog and also post at the bottom of my review posts when I receive an item. 

I use the statement:  I received {the item name or payment} from {company name} so that I could write an honest review of the company’s products and services. 

I also know that sites such as SocialSpark have me add an image at the bottom of the post that says it is a sponsored post, so I’m not sure if I also need to write a statement or if that’s enough.  I’m sure they will let us know!

**I did not receive payment or product from the FTC to write this post.  These are my own thoughts and feelings! LOL**

About Has 4152 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

7 Responses to “The FTC and Blogger Endorsements – Fine of $11,000”

  1. LyndiLou says:

    Shannon… you really are great! 🙂 Thanks for informing everyone about this… it’s really good information! 🙂 I wouldn’t want to get fined $11,000 for anything! YIKES! I don’t do paid reviews or anything… but it’s still good to know! Thanks! Like I said, you’re great!

  2. Doreen says:

    This is good to know, thanks!!

  3. It will be interesting to see the
    “Eva Longoria has not actually tried this hair color yet got paid for saying she does”
    disclaimer after those commercials!!! LOL

    Tammi

  4. Shannon says:

    That’s a good one Tammi! I’m wondering if they are doing this to reduce the number of bloggers or what? I’m baffled by the whole thing, but will still do everything I can to avoid the fine of $11,000.

  5. I have a site-wide disclosure as well as a disclosure at the end of each each review, too. I’ve been doing it for awhile now, but never thought anyone would be able to fine us for not putting it down! *whew!* That is a lot of money. lol

  6. Kayla says:

    Wow. Now I’m kinda freaked out to review things! Lol
    Is that all you have to right at the bottom? Nothing more extensive?

  7. I have a disclosure policy right on the bottom of my blog… It is amazing that one or two unethical bloggers can make it so hard for people like you, an extremely honest hard working mother who loves what she does and tries to get wonderful information and great products out to the rest of us!
    I appreciate all you do for us.
    I did read the whole statement from the FTC which was forwarded to me from my one UNPAID sponsor, and it looks as if the FTC will be trying to go after the COMPANIES who are trying to get free and/or cheap advertising rather than the bloggers who are unaware of the proper way of doing reviews and giveaways. They also said that they will give a warning to the bloggers who make a mistake first, and only then will they fine the bloggers after repeat offenses.
    Who knows what is really going to happen, but as you said, WHY take the chance when all you really need to do is include one sentence in your review.
    Thanks for always being there for us Shannon, I think you write wonderful reviews and I want to be you when I grow up into a big-girl review blogger… 🙂

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