Free Disclosure and Fine Print

The FTC’s recent Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials has gained a lot of attention for such a dry, lengthy document at 81 pages long, emerging out of the fast, bite sized world we live in. The reason for this attention is well deserved because for the first time these guidelines will include blogs and other forms of digital publishing.

Rather than give you my own opinions on the document and how I interpret the them (as some have done), I’ve decided it would be much more beneficial to round up some more qualified explanations of the document, so that we can dispel the myths and opinions and find out exactly what this means for everyone working in the digital space (especially bloggers).

Legal Interpretations

The two posts I’ll point you toward, are a written by individuals with professional legal experience. The first is written by blogger, podcaster and former attorney, Whitney Hoffman. The second is by Thomas O’Toole, who is the managing editor of the Electronic Commerce Law Report for the Bureau of National Affairs, e-commerce and tech law blogger and attorney.

The New FTC Guidelines on Endorsements by Bloggers – by Whitney Hoffman.
Takeaways for Social Media Advertisers in the FTC’s New Endorsement Guides – by Thomas O’Toole

Update: WOMMA hosted a webinar last week to discuss the new FTC guidelines and their impact. The webinar was hosted by Paul Rand, WOMMA’s president and CEO of the Zocalo Group, along with WOMMA’s legal counsel Anthony DiResta from the Manatt Phelps & Phillips law firm. I’ve embedded a short summary slide deck of that presentation. (Thanks to Brand Autopsy for the tip)

After reading these dissections of the FTC Guidelines, here are a few questions for you. I’d enjoy your thoughts.

Does this at all impact what your organization’s digital strategy?

If your organization hesitant to get involved in the online space, will these guidelines make it easier or harder for them to make the leap?

(Photo is a mashup of Flickr pics credited to jasoneppink and St_A_Sh.)