We’ve been carefully watching the FTC’s new ruling on endorsements (review sites) and testimonials to determine how it might affect affiliate marketers. When the new ruling first came out, there was talk about an $11,000 fine for those caught out of compliance. But that information was detracted, and now there is no mention of a fine. However, since it IS the FTC making the new guidelines, affiliate marketers should take notice.
The FTC has now published their final guidelines, for the changes that affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, and Celebrity Endorsements. Here is an excerpt from their site:
"The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service."
Basically, what they’re saying is that if you receive payment of any kind (including free products) for reviewing a product, you need to disclose this fact to your readers. I’m fairly certain that payments made while marketing an affiliate product fall under this category. That’s probably why the ruling was made in the first place.
I haven’t seen this put into place on any blog sites yet to see how the information will be noted, but you should keep your eyes open while reading blogs to see what others are doing, and see what might work best on your blog.
We’ll keep you posted if any new information becomes available.