The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is enacting new guidelines that bloggers and Twitter users need to be aware of. The new rules go into effect on December 1, 2009, and anyone who violates them could face fines up to $11,000 per violation.
The new guidelines affect how bloggers and Twitter users must write and publish review or endorsement posts for which they receive compensation of any kind (e.g., money, products, services, etc.). The FTC refers to this as a “material connection” between the blogger or Twitter user who publishes the review or endorsement and the company providing the compensation.
In short, bloggers and Twitter users must clearly disclose the “material connection”. Furthermore, the review or endorsement must be accurate and reflect the average user’s experience with the item being reviewed. The FTC words the latter requirement as writing a review that reflects the results an average user would “generally expect” to achieve when using the same product or service.
This is the first revision to FTC rules related to endorsements and advertising since 1980, and it comes as no surprise to advertisers who have waited for nearly a year for the FTC to release the new guidelines the agency has made no secret of developing.
You can follow the link to read the complete new FTC guidelines.