You probably wouldn’t need a disclosure in that context. Say you’re planning a vacation. Neither is placing it below your review or below the link to the online retailer so readers would have to keep scrolling after they finish reading. Is that true? For example, if an ad features an endorser who’s a relative or employee of the marketer, the ad is misleading unless the connection is made clear. So it would be much clearer if you say something like, “I’m a paid consultant to the marketers of XYZ” or “I work with XYZ brand”(where XYZ is a brand name). Therefore, if you give free products to reviewers you should disclose next to any average or other summary rating that it includes reviewers who were given free products. It’s also possible that the reviewers may wonder whether your company would stop sending them products if they wrote several negative reviews – despite your assurances that you only want their honest opinions – and that could affect their reviews. FTC definition / FTC means? ,random To the extent it is reasonably foreseeable that your YouTube videos will be seen by and affect U.S. consumers, U.S. law would apply and a disclosure would be required. A famous athlete has thousands of followers on Twitter and is well-known as a spokesperson for a particular product. early access doesn’t mean that you got paid. Feedback, The World's most comprehensive professionally edited abbreviations and acronyms database,, Ticonderoga (Amtrak station code; Ticonderoga, NY), François Tourisme Consultants (French tourism consulting company), Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission (Florida). For example, on a photo platform, users paging through their streams will likely look at the eye-catching images. Indeed, if #ad is mixed in with links or other hashtags at the end, some readers may just skip over all of that stuff. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t required to review every knife you receive. When the FTC was created in 1914, its purpose was to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce as part of the battle to “bust the trusts.” Over the years, Congress passed additional laws giving the agency greater authority to police anticompetitive practices. I’m a blogger. We believe honest reviews help our customers and we give out free products to a select group of our customers for them to review. 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If that isn’t clear, then that disclosure wouldn’t be good enough. © 1988-2020, To get feedback on the food and service, I’m inviting my family and friends to eat for free. Ambiguous phrases are likely to be confusing. If you receive free products or other perks with the expectation that you’ll promote or discuss the advertiser’s products in your blog, you’re covered. I’m an affiliate marketer with links to an online retailer on my website. Similarly, a disclosure in the lower corner of a video could be too easy for users to overlook. I’m a book author and I belong to a group where we agree to post reviews in social media for each other. The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. Is it good enough if an endorser says “thank you” to the sponsoring company? If YouTube has been enabled to run ads during your video, a disclosure that is obscured by ads is not clear and conspicuous. No. Truth in advertising is important in all media, whether they have been around for decades (like television and magazines) or are relatively new (like blogs and social media). Does she need to disclose that she works for our company? Of course, it’s possible that that some shorter message might be effective. FTC kan verwijzen naar: . If I respond via Twitter when I’m not officially working, do I need to make a disclosure? You could, and probably should, complain to the marketer and ask them to stop using your altered review. So whether you got $100 or $1,000 you could simply say you were “paid.” (That wouldn’t be good enough, however, if you’re an employee or co-owner.) No. It’s more likely that a disclosure at the end of the video will be missed, especially if someone doesn’t watch the whole thing. Is “#employee” good enough? How about on a review site? What kind of monitoring program do we need? If you get free meals, you should let your readers know so they can factor that in when they read your reviews. Expert Endorsers Making Claims Outside of Traditional Advertisements, Using Testimonials That Don’t Reflect the Typical Consumer Experience, The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking. They aren’t paying me or giving me anything else. No, it doesn’t. We just entered into a contract with a videogame marketer to pay some of our network members to produce and upload video reviews of the marketer’s games. Having multiple disclosures during the video would be even better. If that’s too long, there’s “Sponsored” or “Ad.”. The Guides, at their core, reflect the basic truth-in-advertising principle that endorsements must be honest and not misleading. What about saying, “XYZ Company asked me to try their product”? In 1938, Congress passed a broad prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices.” Since then, the Commission also has been directed to administer a wide variety of other consumer protection laws, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The Guides themselves don’t have the force of law. The FTC has expressed the opinion that under the FTC Act, product placement (that is, merely showing products or brands in third-party entertainment content – as distinguished from sponsored content or disguised commercials) doesn’t require a disclosure that the advertiser paid for the placement. No. Putting disclosures in obscure places – for example, buried on an ABOUT US or GENERAL INFO page, behind a poorly labeled hyperlink or in a “terms of service” agreement – isn’t good enough. Generally not, but if concerns about possible violations of the FTC Act come to our attention, we evaluate them case by case. Sometimes I’ll do a product review. Ltd.’s path breaking initiative that aggregates and connects talent providers to talent seekers, in a matter of few clicks. If your company allows employees to use social media to talk about its products, you should make sure that your relationship is disclosed to people who read your online postings about your company or its products. There is a good chance that consumers won’t notice and understand the significance of the word “ad” at the end of a hashtag, especially one made up of several words combined like “#coolstyllead.” Disclosures need to be easily noticed and understood. However, if you’ve given these customers a reason to expect a benefit from providing their thoughts about your product, you should disclose that fact in your ads. Third, the disclosure should be a worded in a way that’s understandable to the ordinary reader. In fact, even if you tell your customers that you aren’t going to pay them but that they might be featured in your advertising, that opportunity might be seen as having a value, so the fact that they knew this when they gave the review should be disclosed (e.g., “Customers were told in advance they might be featured in an ad.”). You just talked about putting “#ad” at the beginning of a social media post. Such one-word hashtags are ambiguous and likely confusing. A disclosure is more likely to be seen if it’s very close to, or part of, the endorsement to which it relates. Again, determining that could be tricky, so we recommend disclosure. Second, if you are giving free meals to anyone and seeking their endorsement, then their reviews in social media would be viewed as advertising subject to FTC jurisdiction. For example, if you get free use of a car for a month, we recommend a disclosure even though you have to return it. An endorsement must reflect the honest opinion of the endorser and can’t be used to make a claim that the product’s marketer couldn’t legally make. Now the marketer has taken my review and changed it in a way that I think is misleading. Do I have to hire a lawyer to help me write a disclosure? My Facebook page identifies my employer. Do we need to make a disclosure? Therefore, it might be better to err on the side of caution and disclose that donations are made to charity in exchange for reviews. Acronym Finder, All Rights Reserved. On her own initiative and without us asking, one of our employees used her personal social network simply to “like” or “share” one of our company’s posts. It’s clear that what’s on my website is a paid advertisement, not my own endorsement or review of the product. Knife manufacturers know how much I love knives, so they send me knives as free gifts, hoping that I will review them. And even assuming the reviewers in your program are unbiased, your customers have the right to know which reviewers were given products for free. The connection could be friendship, family relationships, or strangers who make a deal. Would a disclosure at the beginning of the stream be ok? What about “#ad” at or near the end of a post? Consumers might not understand that “affiliate link” means that the person placing the link is getting paid for purchases through the link. FTC’s work is performed by the Bureaus of Consumer Protection, Competition and Economics. Therefore, if someone who eats for free at your invitation posts about your restaurant, readers of the post would probably want to know that the meal was on the house. If that’s the case, consumers may be misled if they just look at inflated average ratings rather than reading individual reviews with disclosures. Although the advertiser does not make any claims about the lotion’s ability to cure skin conditions and the blogger does not ask the advertiser whether there is substantiation for the claim, she writes that the lotion cures eczema. The closer it is to your recommendation, the better. The most important principle is that an endorsement has to represent the accurate experience and opinion of the endorser: You can’t make claims about a product that would require proof the advertiser doesn’t have. No. A hook up chart is a web connecting all the people one knows that have hooked up with each other. If you disclose your relationship to the retailer clearly and conspicuously on your site, readers can decide how much weight to give your endorsement.