<< by on April 15th, 2009
After 30 years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is revising their guidelines on viral marketing and blogs. According to Advertising Age:
“the FTC is proposing that word-of-mouth marketers and bloggers, as well as people on social-media sites such as Facebook, be held liable for any false statements they make about a product they’re promoting, along with the product’s marketer. This could present a significant issue for marketers, including the likes of Microsoft, Ford and Pepsi, who spend billions on word-of-mouth and social media.”
Does that mean if I give my personal review of a product/service in a blog post I could be held liable?!?!?! Not necessarily:
“FTC guidelines apply only to bloggers and others compensated to promote or review a product. Roberta Jacobs-Meadway, a partner at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, a Pittsburgh law firm, said: “The FTC is … putting out guidelines to make it clear to people who are involved in social media and viral marketing that the same rules apply in this context as they do in the more formal context of paid advertising and infomercials.” There are no legal implications for social-media sites such as Facebook or marketer sites such as Amazon, where consumers often post product reviews. However, Ms. Jacobs-Meadway said, paid endorsers who post on those sites can be held liable if they do not identify themselves as such.”
Voting on the new guidelines will happen this summer and the FTC will review all public comments. What do you think? Should compensated individuals be held accountable for blogging their “personal” product review?