FTC updates rules for bloggers and social media

If you are using your blog or twitter or other social media to sell or promote stuff you should read the new update, where the FTC addresses the many questions since the new vague regulations last December. Read that here:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm

If you’re not aware, The FTC is the United States Federal Trade Commission and they are basically responsible for protecting consumers from predatory or deceptive marketing tactics.  e.g. smoking is safe and healthy! is a lie and as much as the tobacco industry might  like to say that to sell more, they can’t and it’s the FTC among others who try to keep things clean.

The FTC have been in existence for much longer than the internet, 1914 to be exact.   The underlying law hasn’t changed much in intent: Protect Consumers.     The rise of the internet new forms of marketing and distribution (e.g. blogging and twitter) have arisen and the regulations have had to be updated as there hasn’t been anything quite like them before. e.g. what can you say in a tweet of 140 characters?

Last year that updated the regulations to cover flogs (fake blogs), with fake testimonials, and also for normal popular bloggers that were getting free products, cash or other compensation for doing a review of a product.  If you have kids you can imagine how you learn to trust a fellow mom or dad to give objective advise, if they were a Schill, you should be aware that their motive for telling you about a product might be tainted with their desire to make money from it.

The problem for marketers/affiliates was that they FTC were pretty vague about what they actually wanted, and what the consquences were.  This lack of information allowed all sorts of hype and myths to arise.    This was so intimidating that many major courses chose to lauch early to bypass the regulation, and after the passing many pro bloggers adopted either a wait and see attitude to let other less cautions people get sued by the FTC first, or went hogwild with disclaimers bigger than the core message they were trying to deliver.

FTC they listened and compiled the common questions an answered them in that new post, that is a much saner picture, They aren’t a Big Brother watching every blog, if you get something wrong they aren’t going to take your first born, and will take problems case by case.

So if you are selling or promoting anything on the internet, please read it for your own protection. It’s a single page.  Read it here.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm

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