Bloggers Now Held to Higher Standard by FTC

The US government’s Federal Trade Commission has changed the guidelines for bloggers (and celebrities) who write paid reviews or offer endorsements, and I think this is a very good thing for people who read blogs. Bloggers now must reveal whether they were compensated for a product or service review found on their website, which is similar to disclosures companies need to make in advertisements. If they fail to do so, they could receive significant fines.

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s revised Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers.

I can’t recall a time when I wrote a paid review on behalf of a company, although I have turned down several requests. On occasion, a company will offer services (development services for example) in exchange for a mention on my blog, but I generally refrain from providing any opinion in those posts.

When I do provide an opinion, it is based on my actual experience rather than simply writing a glowing report in exchange for a fee. My blogging goal has always been to be helpful to others, and if there’s ever a time when something is written and I am compensated, I will certainly disclose it to you. I also want to add that when a person or company does exceptional work or goes above and beyond on a project for me, I want to let people know about it.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Elliot,

    In theory its a good thing but its a 100% waste of taxpayer money. Entirely unenforceble and another attempt of the US government trying to govern the world.

    Many people would like to build a bridge from Key West to Cuba. Hell, this idea is worth more consideration than any attempt by the US government to try and govern content on the web.

    The web belongs to the world not the USA.

  2. @Alan

    Well said! This policy is completely unenforceable. Who is the FTC *really* going after?

    Freedom of speech still lives strong just 45 minutes off the coast of Florida at our data center in Nassau, Bahamas.

  3. All it takes is host your blogs outside US, and the US government won’t have the power to do anything

    They should be worried about corruption that goes all over big companies, big banks, wall street and other places instead of pursuing bloggers.

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