Maybe it’s because I’m a librarian and my job is to teach people how to locate and evaluate resources for accuracy and authenticity. Or maybe it’s because I’m naturally suspicious but I have often watched commercials with celebrities and wondered if they actually use the products they’re endorsing or if they’re just taking home a paycheck? If they’re review is tied to monetary gain, is it really a credible endorsement? Would they endorse a product they don’t believe in just because it puts a little change in the pocket?
I basically take the same attitude towards bloggers or anyone who reviews products, offers free give aways or anything else along those lines. I want to know your connection to the makers of the product you’re reviewing. Tell me if your opinion may be tempered by financial gain. And, apparently, the FTC feels the same way. They are now requiring bloggers and celebrities (when endorsing on a blog, social network or tv show) to disclose their relationships to advertisers or the companies of products they’re reviewing.
Basically, if the blogger receives monetary compensation, free trips, gifts, endorsements, etc from the maker of a product, it has to be disclosed or the blogger faces a hefty $11,000 fine. Yikes! I say play it safe and put a little note on the review post that discloses the relationship between yourself and the company, state whether you purchased the reviewed product or if it was sent to you by the company for review. Be on the up and up with your readers and you shouldn’t have any problems.
For more information about the new FTC rules you can go here. Other ways to make your blog FTC compliant is to generate a disclosure policy from Disclosurepolicy.org and post it to your blog and take the vow to Blog with Integrity.