I believe that there are new laws being brought in in the US about publishing product reivews online, saying something along the lines that if you write a review and include an affiliate link you have to state that you get paid for sales made through that link. Does anyone have any more precise info on how this would affect hubbers? or has anyone started adding this statement on their product review hubs? and if so how have you done it so as not to put people off?
I've written a hub about this and getting there actually spoke to Richard Cleland of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Here are the links. Of course, this does not apply to non-U.S. citizens.
http://hubpages.com/hub/New-FTC-Guideli … l-Bloggers
http://hubpages.com/hub/Federal-Trade-C … e-Blogging
It doesn't actually say that you need to add a disclaimer to an affiliate link to state that you get paid for sales.
It's not about advertising but about endorsements.
It's about getting paid (in cash or in free product) to write a review regardless of whether or not you make a sale.
Do I understand correctly then that it's only in circumstances where you are actually getting paid for the review and will not be applicable when you are earning commission on the sale. In other words I write a review without getting paid for the review then this law would not apply under those circumstances?
Here's four scenarios:
1) Adsense ads (or similar). They are ads, and are marked as such (Ads by Google). Anything that is obviously is an ad is not an ad pretending to be a personal endorsement. They shouldn't come under this new FTC ruling.
2) If you buy something and review it, you can say anything you like about it. You bought it. It's not a paid for endorsement.
3) If a company (or a third party business, say one who is responsible for marketing or distributing a product) pays you money or gives you free product in exchange for a review, then that has to be disclosed. This is the bit that the FTC is cracking down on.
4) The greyish area is when you have affiliate links to promote products that you haven't bought, that you haven't used. You're promoting something, but you're effectively reviewing it too, where do you stand? On one hand because you haven't received cash or free product you don't have to disclose a relationship with the sponsor. On the other though a person would have to be cautious as to what you're publishing. If it's copy and paste testimonial that's part of some sales pitch, are you using a paid endorsement?
The guidelines for the rules regarding testimonials seems to ramble on a bit, I'm still trying to figure it out myself.
??? eh??? I have not heard anything about that.
You know kephira, I'm sure one of our hubbers ahs written a hub about it somewhere.
Let me go check
Edit: This is what I remember reading - I don't know if it's helpful. And I believe Darkside started a forum thread about the same subject. Anyway Liam (Bean) wrote this - check it out, it may be helpful? FTC Regulations
This is going to be interesting as I have a review site and will need to put in a clause if that is a new law in the States.
Will come back to find out!
I read the hub and am not clear if this pertains to hubbers writing a review then putting up amazon ads - I mean the ads are pretty clear - you are trying to sell something. And suppose you offer alternatives as well. Sounds confusing. Or is this for people who are paid directly by a company?
Liam what if your blog is targeting the U.S. market but you are not a U.S. citizen?
It seems to me like this is the reason we fill out a Income tax statement.
I basically have technical attributes of the products listed and only on about 10% do I actually have affiliate links to buy the products,
I do have Adsense on the site. Seeing that to date I have not made 1 single sale I could just as well remove the affiliate links and just be happy if I get Adsense revenue.
That would probably be the safest I suppose.
safe from what? darkside extrapolated the gray area..possibly where this will lead in the industry, for now unless Toyota gave you a car and you promised to write about it, it doesnt relate at all
for now it refers to directly sponsored reviews and enforcement is going to be damn near impossible
Wow, thanks so much for clearing everything up guys. I've been considering starting some product review hubs for a while and I must admit, I got a little scared back there. Luckily I am an Australian citizen and only planning to make a profit from Adsense from the reviews.
Also, fines don't kick in till after a FIRST offense and sending warnings and as SF noted, the FTC are not even sure how they are going to enforce it
I know that Squidoo.com now has added something about it close to the bottom of the page close to the copyright thing on every page because apparently, the FTC doesn't say where it has to be placed or in what size font or anything like that.
I sent a message to the Hub team asking if they were going to do the same thing, but I have not gotten a response back yet. I know that there is still time because the rules don't take effect until like Dec.9, 2009 or somewhere around there.
It also says the FTC is more likely to go after the advertiser than the blogger, which I am assuming because the advertiser has deeper pockets, but the FTC could choose to go after the blogger, if they deem that the blogger makes substantial income or whatever.
I don't know how this stuff would affect international affiliates who promote in the U.S. I asked someone from a different country who does the same thing, and it seems to be a gray area. I think he said he was going to do it as if he was in the U.S. just to be safe and what not. You would think that they would have thought about this stuff before they passed this crap.
*I am not a lawyer or anything of the sort, and as such, this doesn't constitute legal advice. :-)
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