Example 21 in the updated guide takes clear aim at bloggers who get free products to review. In the example, "Katie Krafty," a wife and mother, who blogs about remodeling her fixer-upper home in Pittsburgh, is shown as an example of blogger who was not transparent.
The text accompanying the above example reads:
"The blogger in this example obtained the paint she is reviewing for free and must disclose that fact. Although she does so at the end of her blog post, there are several hyperlinks before that disclosure that could distract readers and cause them to click away before they get to the end of post. Given these distractions, the disclosure likely is not clear and conspicuous."
So the Feds are saying that tucking away the disclosure at the end of the post after you've "paid" back the company for the free product you’re reviewing with links in the body of the post is not transparent enough. That's interesting.
Examples, 14, 15, 16 and 17 cover "space-constrained messages." And while they don't specifically call out people on Twitter, the example images look an awful lot like tweets. Paid spokespersons on Twitter who are tweeting about a product should include "Ad;" at the beginning of their tweets to succinctly disclose their financial ties.
Aside from some garden celebrities, the only spokespersons I can think of in the garden blogging world would be Proven Winners' Garden "Gurus" and Troy-Bilt's "Saturday 6." It will be interesting to see when, if, and how gardeners on Twitter who are spokespersons start complying with the FTC disclosure guidelines.
Will the suggestions for properly disclosing product reviews make you change how you disclose your freebies? What changes will you make to your product reviews to ensure you’re being transparent? Read the rest of the updated "Dotcom Disclosures" guidelines in PDF.
Update/related: Across the pond there is an interesting discussion that is related to blogging dealing with advertisements and disclosure in garden blogging.
(Via Paid Content)