Monday, October 5, 2009

FTC Passes Regulations That Require Bloggers to Disclose Paid Reviews

Tags: astroturfing, ftc

The FTC has just revised some guidelines regarding endorsements that will directly affect bloggers that participate in paid reviews. Basically, the FTC has put in place some fines for bloggers that don't clearly disclose payments (or free products) they get from companies they review products for.

I, personally, welcome the new guidelines. While I don't have anything against those that do paid reviews, I do think the process should be as transparent as possible. You may be able to post a fair review of a product you've been paid to review, but your audience should be aware of any potential conflicts of interest.

With that said, many people have already begun pointing out some potential problems with the enforceability of the new rules. So far, it looks like bloggers are the only groups singled out, which would leave loopholes for countless other Web-related mediums. What about paid Twitter Tweets, Amazon reviews, or Facebook messages? I'd like to think they would all be covered by the FTC's new guidelines, but nobody seems to know right now.