Feds Dictate that Reviews on Blogs Should Disclose if Review is for Sponsor or Advertiser

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting ready to issue new guidelines which state that bloggers who review a product or service are under an obligation to disclose to their readers if the product or service being reviewed is a sponsor of the blog, or if the blogger otherwise is getting compensation (sometimes known as “Blogola”, as a play on the word “payola) for the review.

With the paradigm shift of consumers searching the Internet to get product information and to inform their purchasing decisions, rather than getting their information from main stream media, corporate advertisers – both large and small – are reaching out to bloggers as paid evangelists.


Because of the personal, conversational feel of blogs, a review on a blog often feels like a personal recommendation – which it often is, but increasingly the blogger may have been just as likely to have never touched the product being reviewed until it was put into their hands by an advertiser or blog sponsor.

Said FTC staff attorney, Rich Cleland, “The presumption is that we can apply traditional advertising principles like transparency and accountability to social media the same way as it would apply to traditional media.”

Cleland is referring to the rules which already govern mainstream media, such as that an advertisment in a magazine or newspaper which looks like a review or a report must still carry a disclaimer that it is a paid advertisement.

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No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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