Bloggers Have No Choice, They Must Disclose Advertising Relationships

December 21, 2006 – 11:03 am

by Darren

The FTC has decided to really change the way people do word of mouth marketing, and they’ve made a lot of specific changes to how website owners must list information. These changes are really huge, and could represent a cataclysmic shift in how people operate online. If you haven’t already, take an hour or so and digest The Dot Com Disclosures, and you’ll see things have changed quite a bit, concerning online sales claims and disclosures.

In particular, check out the wording in Clear and Conspicuous Disclosures in Online Advertisements. The wording is pretty strong and direct, when they say:

When it comes to online ads, the basic principles of advertising law apply:

1. Advertising must be truthful and not misleading;
2. Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims (”substantiation”); and
3. Advertisements cannot be unfair.

Unique features in Internet ads also may affect how an ad and any required disclosures are evaluated.

Many websites do not currently meet these requirements and will have to be upgraded to reflect the changes. If you read the document in its’ entirety you’ll see bloggers will definitely have to disclose, so the recent “PPP” announcement that they were making bloggers disclose was just them falling into line with the government decision.

I think these rules are interesting. They should make it harder for complete scammers to do business online.

What do you think of these changes?

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