There is a lot on the Internet about these new FTC rules already and I am NOT a lawyer or knowledgeable in any way whatsoever about the FTC. I'm even not sure how it affects bloggers and affiliates outside of the US but since about half my readership comes from the US I am taking action.
I have read that it is where the hosting is based that matters and as Typepad is based in the US, that brings me into the rules.
See Frank Kern blog for guidance in nice easy to understand words.
FTC Press release - endorsements and testimonials
FTC Endorsements pdf - this is 81 pages so it is a long read.The Main FTC News
On October 5th 2009 the FTC issued the new guidelines that appear to apply from 1 December 2009.
Failure to meet the regulations could cost a blogger $11,000 - per violation.Can The New FTC Affiliate & Endorsement Rules Be Turned To Your Advantage?
I have tried to be upfront by making it clear what I think about a product or the freeline giveaways to promote a product and to separate out the promotional hype from my own thoughts.
But I must admit that I haven't made the full disclosure that seems to be required. If I have reviewed a product, I haven't made it clear whether I had it for free or bought it. That wasn't to mislead. I just didn't see it as that relevant.
The price of the product is often minor compared to the value of my time taken to review the product. The big Internet marketing products may cost $2000 but they can take 30, 50 or more hours to review and no one has yet paid me for my time to review a product.
Over on the Copyblogger blog, there is an article on how to turn affiliate marketing disclosure into a selling point which is well worth reading.
My comments facility seems to be playing up at the moment but discussion about the FTC, bloggers and affiliate products is growing.
Here are a few that have come to my attention.
This FTC vs Affiliate Vs Endorsements is going to run and run.
I will add links to quality commentaries as I find them although inevitably there is more speculation than knowledge given how general the FTC guidance was.
Michael Fortin - Is This The End of Affiliate Marketing?
Michael sees trouble ahead for the people with affiliate schemes and how they manage their rogue affiliates and suggests that many affiliate schemes may be cut back or closed down.
Does the new FTC Rule affect you? from the BloggingTips blog
The new rule is welcomed by a blogger who does paid reviews but has always disclosed that fact.
I must admit that I have sympathy with this view since I read some product reviews that are clearly biased and OTT. I even doubt that many have seen or used the product they are hypeing for affiliate commissions.
Here it comes: the first FTC regulation on blogs from the World Copywriting Blog and written by David Garfinkel.
Raises issues on how the FTC can monitor the millions of blogs.
I don't see how they can but the FTC can respond to complaints so it only needs one disgruntled or vindictive reader to start the ball rolling.
Plus of course high profile blogs, celebrities and products will come under the spotlight more than others.
It doesn't take much more the FTC to get several complaints about a product, type it into Google and take a look at the top 10 or 20 sites for non-disclosers.
Potential FTC Fines Raise Big Blogging Questions on the WebProNews blog
Looks at the FTC ruling for blogs from a freedom of speech angle and the problem that it is being regulated by government officials.
FTC New Rule: Bloggers Must Disclose Compensation on the Internet Law and Business Blog
Argument that regulation for consumer protection is long overdue.
FTC Values Sponsored Conversations at $11,000 Apiece from TechCrunch Blog
General discussion on the FTC ruling and questions on how bloggers differ from journalists who receive free products to review.
An Open Letter to the FTC from the GalleyCat blog
A series of questions for the FTC