Will the FTC Change Blogging?

By Shannon Gosney
In Blogging Randomness
October 6, 2009

It has been discussed for a while now that the FTC was working on adjusting guidelines for endorsements.  There has also been a lot of controversy surrounding bloggers receiving “free” stuff and their written opinions being biased because they received either cash or product as a form of payment. 

There was one woman who complained about following a blogger’s advice and purchasing a product that did not meet the standards the blogger raved about.  Hmmm….so does that mean that we are all of a sudden going to have people saying “I want to return my product because a blogger said…” or “I went into debt buying a product because a blogger said?”  Does this mean the consumers have no choice or accountability in the products they buy and that bloggers are to blame? 

I was a little irritated at first when the FTC changed the guidelines that bloggers (which is what is talked about mostly in the news, not necessarily celebrities) have to write in each post that they received monetary compensation or product for writing the review.  I felt like my readers knew that I received products when I did.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll do it because it isn’t that difficult to write a statement at the bottom of my post, just in case people weren’t clear that I received the product for my review.  However, an $11,000 fine seems awfully steep for a blog post on an item ranging from $5.00 to $300.00!

First of all, when I review products, I select products or companies I like or have an interest in or need for.  I myself have requested review products based on positive tones from other bloggers and found the products repulsive (as you may see in a few of my posts).  I feel like these new guidelines are going to cast a dark shadow over the credibility of review bloggers like myself.   

I know there are a lot of bloggers freaked out and nervous to write more posts.  What are your thoughts on the new FTC guidelines?

I was not compensated with product or payment for writing this post. 

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.

6 Responses to “Will the FTC Change Blogging?”

  1. I think that it is truthfully wrong.
    I, personally, am not associated with any companies doing blogs, I am hosting my own personal giveaway but it is my own want, not for the company or such, I’m just hoping for more followers. 🙂
    I believe that it is wrong for a blogger to have to state whether or not they’re receiving something for their reviews. Just because you’re receiving something does not mean that you are a liar!!
    To me, this is all like a pack of peanuts that were on a plane, the package said “Tear here, insert [small amount] into mouth and chew thoroughly”… I mean, seriously?! Does it have to come to this? Should a consumer not be smart enough to know that a blog review is based upon opinion which differs from person to person?! Sheesh!
    Now, like I said before.. I have not done any reviewing for any companies, therefore as of now, I am not affected by the topic, but I am sorry that it’s come to this for everyone else! I love your reviews & posts and wish you more luck with this!!

  2. Kayla says:

    I’m freaked out!
    I started blogging for fun and just fell into reviewing things-I know there are some bloggers who have biased opinions because of compensation, but that’s probably 2% out of 98% of us?!
    I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but in all honesty I have no respect for the government and what they do, so in my eyes, this is just another way of reigning us in.
    It just angers me-This is out escape from the ‘real world’ and to complicate it and threaten us like that is just not okay with me!

  3. I guess I didnt see it as a big deal at all. I do think it’s ridiculous though that people always want to blame others for their own decisions. Like the girls who tried to sue McDonald’s because they were heavy. I do a very very small amount of review (aka like 5 total) and I dont mind writing I’ve been sent something. However I’ve also done, ‘here’s a bunch of my favorite things’ and like you, I feel like I gotta say, “Nope no one sent me anything. I just love this stuff.’

  4. Noreen says:

    I must be under a rock because I did not hear any of this. A little scary at such a big fine. I have done a few reviews, those that I was sent something to review and some that I did because I found something I wanted to share.

  5. LeMira says:

    Just one more way by which a person can be controlled! Why are people so sue happy anyway!?

  6. Lynn says:

    I’m with you, Shannon. I think the new rules are unfair to bloggers; however, I am hoping the FTC keeps it’s word that it will more likely go after advertisers than bloggers. Then again, that may scare the advertisers away from bloggers.

    I am also posting a disclosure in each post in addition to my static disclosure page. Your disclosure in this post is hilarious!

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