Internet Law Alert: 16 C.F.R. Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising: Notice Announcing Adoption of Revised Guides.
Current Regulations - 16 C.F.R. Part 255
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The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) is adopting revised Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising with an effective date of December 1, 2009.
A requirement that “bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.” Fines for violating the new rule will run up to $11,000 per post.
Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed.
Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement may have to disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Paid endorsements – like any other advertisements – are considered deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.