FTC Material Connection Disclosures?

Author:Len Thurmond



Since the FTC is requiring that all testimonialists connected in any way to the product they are promoting make a disclosure of that connection (i.e. received promotional copies or other material compensation, and or are marketing affiliates for the product), it is essential that such admissions be added to the bottom of each testimonial.

To Quote the FTC, “the Commission believes that the endorser is the party primarily responsible for disclosing material connections with the advertiser. However, advertisers who sponsor these endorsers (either by providing free products – directly or through a middleman – or otherwise) in order to generate positive word of mouth and spur sales should establish procedures to advise endorsers that they should make the necessary disclosures and to monitor the conduct of those endorsers”

They further said, “The Commission’s view that these endorsers have an obligation to disclose material connections with their sponsoring advertisers should not be seen as reflecting a desire on the part of the Commission either to deter consumers from sharing their views about products they like with others or as an indication the Commission intends to target consumer endorsers who use these new forms of consumer-generated media. As with traditional media, the Commission’s law enforcement activities will continue to focus on advertisers.”

Therefore it is pretty obvious that to comply with their new Guidelines, you should probably NOT use testimonials that don’t contain a Disclosure statement similar to the one below (unless such connections DO NOT exist, in which case no statement is required).

The Testimonialist received a promotional copy of this product, and/or other material compensation, in order to facilitate their Honest opinion for this endorsement, and IS a marketing affiliate for XYZ.

And since most testimonialists will probably not include such a statement, it would fall to you (the Advertiser) to make sure it’s there, or not use the testimonial at all.

ALSO … while you have little control over what others do outside of your own sites, it would also be advisable to provide a similar Disclosure in a message to your recipients, when giving them compensation or products for review, and advising them that they must include it with their endorsements when posting those endorsements on any other sites, blogs, social media etc., outside your domain or realm of influence.

Alternately, savvy marketers might want to think about building such statements “INTO” the testimonials to lessen the possible negative effect, and yet still comply with the new FTC Guidelines.

One of the interesting statements by the FTC states that the wording of testimonials does NOT have to be verbatim as long as it does not change the meaning of the original statement. This gives us a bit of leeway allowing us to add in the disclosures in a way that won’t discredit the testimonial itself.

For instance…you might get a testimonial that stated something like…

” John, you’ve done it again and created another Great Product. I could hardly believe it when I tried your software and it saved me DAYS of boring repetitive work, allowing me to concentrate on the more important areas of my business, like…”

If we changed that a bit to read…

John has repeatedly come up with one good product after another, and as an loyal affiliate of John’s for many years, he was gracious enough to give me a copy of XYZ software to test. I could hardly believe it when I tried this new software and it saved me DAYS of boring repetitive work, allowing me to concentrate on the more important areas of my business, like…”

Get the idea?

And last but not least…It would also probably be a good idea to include instructions to the same effect in your affiliate agreement to cover your butt in case Big Brother puts his eye on YOU!

Just my opinion ;o)

Len Thurmond

PS – You can Get these types of disclosures along with about 70 OTHER Important Legal Documents designed exclusively for your Online BUsiness, at…
http://www.AutoWebLaw.com
PPS – If you haven’t already read it, you can get my informative PDF “RANT” about the New FTC Guidelines here … http://www.AutoWebLaw.com/FTC-Guidelines.zip

PS – You can Get these types of disclosures along with about 70 OTHER Important Legal Documents designed exclusively for your Online BUsiness, at…http://www.AutoWebLaw.com

PPS – If you haven’t already read it, you can get my informative PDF “RANT” about the New FTC Guidelines here … http://www.AutoWebLaw.com/FTC-Guidelines.zip

PPPS – The Information in the preceeding article is comprised of the personal “OPINIONS” of Len Thurmond, and should be considered as nothing more…nothing less.

Nothing in this article should be considered as Legal Advice in any way, shape or form.

As always, you should seek the advice of your own attorney before making up your mind about what course of action is best for you and your situation.

Check out this Interview I did with Jack Humphrey:

If you’ve been freaking out about what the FTC Guidelines mean to you as a blogger, affiliate marketer, or product owner with an affiliate program, today’s interview should clear up what you should actually be doing to protect yourself.fridaytrafficreport.com, Webside Chat with Len Thurmond on FTC Guidelines and How They Affect Us

You should read the whole article.



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Len Thurmond has been marketing on the Internet since 1995, and is one of the best known authors and newsletter publishers in the Internet World Today.

Through his highly acclaimed Newsletter, his many Seminar and Tele-seminars speaking engagements, and his coaching programs, he has helped thousands of now successful Entrepreneurs find their niche, and make it profitable.

To read more of Len’s Marketing Articles visit his blog at http://LenThurmond.com

As always, feel free to use this or any of my articles on your sites. Just be SURE to include the Resource Box at the bottom of this Article ;o)

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