zahid lilani

Are You Following FTC Disclosure Guidelines?


Bloggers are now faced with a challenge of abiding by the new FTC guidelines that regulate blogging and opinions expressed when endorsing a company, product or service.

From New York Times:

“The FTC will require that writers on the Web clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.”

Scenario 1
You have a website about iPhones and you occasionally review iPhone applications. You pay to download the application from the iTunes store and then talk about it. Sometimes you write good reviews, sometimes bad. No problem there.

Scenario 2
Same as above but this time, the application maker is giving you a paid application for free and wants you to review it and it is entirely up to you to express your opinion. There is a problem, you need FTC disclosure.

Why do you need it?

You have an audience that trusts you, if you are peddling crap and not telling them that you are deceiving them then you are being dishonest and big brother doesn’t like it.

Why should you care?

Besides saving your rear end, full disclosure will give your readers confidence that they can trust your reviews and opinions.

What about $11,000 fine?

It is widely reported but not true, there is no $11,000 fine.

How to write a disclosure

Having a disclosure page doesn’t get you off the hook. Why? Your reader is subscribed to your RSS feed, you write an excellent review but don’t mention that you were paid. How will the reader know you were paid?

Louis Gray
Louis Gray
Stolen from: Sitting With @Scobleizer and @Jesse As Part of a Big Silicon Valley Day

It’s funny but it is the right way to do it in my view. You don’t have to be boring in telling others you were given a freebie to write an opinion. Be cool about it, try the product/service yourself and be genuine. Walk the talk….

FTC Disclosure: I wasn’t paid by any of the concerned parties above to educate fellow bloggers