On Monday the Federal Trade Commission changed the rules for advertisers and bloggers and how they communicate to the public. Starting December 1st bloggers that review products must divulge their relationship with the advertiser.
Why change the rules for these seemingly innocent bloggers?
Well for starters the current endorsement and testimonial in advertising rule hasn’t been visited since 1980, four years before wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) was born. And with the continual change of the online social construct (Twitter, Facebook, etc), marketers are seeing the value of the brand journalism that review bloggers do.
For instance, if you follow a home restoration blog regularly, and have for some time, you have a certain amount of trust in what that blogger is writing about. You visit there site for all sorts of reasons: for simple maintenance tips, for help on design options and to see what cute thing their kid did today. This person is real to you and help guide your decisions in everyday life. Therefore you have a right to know if Lowe’s or Home Depot is covering the cost of this bloggers materials or writing them a $5,000 check every month. That is what the FTC wants to clear up.
There are probably bloggers out there clamoring at the thought that they will no longer receive “FREE” items from advertisers. First off, if this is why you blog I can’t help you. Secondly, you as a person have a choice to talk about any product you want, good or bad. That advertiser wants you to write a glowing review, but your opinion is worth more than a pair of adequate sneakers.
“the rules are looking ahead to a quite possible future when there is a market to buy â€˜authentic’ public endorsements.” Jonathan Zittrain, professor Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Raidious Digital Content Services isn’t in the game of “ghost blogging” or misrepresenting brands. We believe in leveraging owned media to engage the relationship between the user and the brand. Posing as an “earned media” source is underhanded and we are happy the FTC is stepping up to stop this practice.