Bloggers Required to Disclose Vendor Connections

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Monday that bloggers and those who use social media to review products (given to them by vendors to review and post their opinions) must provide full disclosure of their relationship with the vendor. In other words, if a vendor ships you a free product and you choose to publicly write about it (whether good or bad), you must include a statement that the vendor sent you the product to review for free.

For some reason, I had assumed that the guidelines, which were last updated in 1980, had automatically applied to the digital realm. This is not the case. For roughly the last 30 years, people have not been required to post their relationship with vendors when providing endorsements and testimonial ads on the Internet. However, effective December 1st, bloggers and social networkers need to abide by these new rules.

Some think that this might limit the number of free giveaways by vendors. In my opinion, it might deter the free gifts to some degree, but probably not much. Even with full disclosure, personal testimonies and endorsements by individuals are powerful tools for consumers and advertisers. Consumers want to hear this info, and advertisers know this. The question will be how the new rules will be enforced and policed.


About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on October 6, 2009, in Consumerism, Ethics, Facebook, Social Networks, Technology, Twitter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: