I share in my social media posts about products I use. Despite inaccurate news reports, there are no “fines” for violations of the FTC Act. That said, it’s unlikely that the activity of a rogue blogger would be the basis of a law enforcement action if your company has a reasonable training, monitoring, and compliance program in place. It’s more likely that a disclosure at the end of the video will be missed, especially if someone doesn’t watch the whole thing. People reading your posting on a review site probably won’t know who you are. I have a small network marketing business. NOTE: The answers have been provided by the IIAT technical staff based on our interpretation of the law and rules and the opinions expressed in Best Practices for Certificates of Insurance. Another principle in the Guides applies to ads that feature endorsements from people who achieved exceptional, or even above average, results. What if I return the product after I review it? (d) In-State Applicant for Initial License. Even if you don’t think it affects your evaluation of the product, what matters is whether knowing that you got the knife for free might affect how your audience views what you say about the knife. However, an advertiser buying fake “likes” is very different from an advertiser offering incentives for “likes” from actual consumers. To the extent it is reasonably foreseeable that your YouTube videos will be seen by and affect U.S. consumers, U.S. law would apply and a disclosure would be required. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. Would you want to know that when you’re evaluating the endorser’s glowing recommendation? The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. Is it ok if it’s at the end? Having multiple disclosures during the video would be even better. Your disclosure could be just, “XYZ Resort paid for my trip” or “Thanks to XYZ Resort for the free trip.” It would also be accurate to describe your blog as “sponsored by XYZ Resort.”. The Guides give the example of a restaurant patron being offered the opportunity to appear in television advertising before giving his opinion about a product. Can I mention our products to people in my social networks? If the audience understands the relationship, a disclosure isn’t needed. I’m getting paid to do a videogame playthrough and give commentary while I’m playing. Knowing that reviewers got the product they reviewed for free would probably affect the weight your customers give to the reviews, even if you didn’t intend for that to happen. Second, if your product is the same as it was when the endorsements were given and the claims are still accurate, you probably can use the old endorsements if the disclosures are consistent with what the generally expected results are now. The connection could be friendship, family relationships, or strangers who make a deal. Questions? To see the rest, you have to click “more.” If an Instagram post makes an endorsement through the picture or the beginning lines of the description, any required disclosure should be presented without having to click “more.”. To make a disclosure “clear and conspicuous,” advertisers should use plain and unambiguous language and make the disclosure stand out. No. They may result in changes to your premium. Putting disclosures in obscure places – for example, buried on an ABOUT US or GENERAL INFO page, behind a poorly labeled hyperlink or in a “terms of service” agreement – isn’t good enough. Many people, when trying to deal with rules like this, start looking for loopholes. If you get free meals, you should let your readers know so they can factor that in when they read your reviews. But it’s up to you to make a reasonable effort to know what participants in your network are saying. The Guides themselves don’t have the force of law. What About Affiliate or Network Marketing? Advertisers shouldn’t encourage endorsements using features that don’t allow for clear and conspicuous disclosures. We have stricken section 2 of the “2018 8th CD Primary Election Endorsement Voting Rules” rules. If they have no reason to expect compensation or any other benefit before they give their comments, there’s no need to disclose your payments to them. I've seen some say it at the top and others at the bottom. The connection could be friendship, family relationships, or strangers who make a deal. It sounds like you have a connection that might materially affect the weight or credibility of your endorsements (that is, your reviews), since bad reviews of each others’ books could jeopardize the arrangement. Does it matter how I got the free product to review? Does it matter? I still use the product. If you received a free or discounted product to provide a review somewhere, your connection to the company should be disclosed everywhere you endorse the product. No, it’s not. Now the marketer has taken my review and changed it in a way that I think is misleading. That’s not to say that you couldn’t have disclosures in both the video and the description. Our company’s policy says that employees shouldn’t post positive reviews online about our products without clearly disclosing their relationship to the company. The disclosure should catch users’ attention and be placed where they aren’t likely to miss it. There are two issues here. An endorsement is an amendment to a document or contract, an authorizing signature, or a public declaration of support. Having it at the beginning of the review would be better. Is it sufficient for me to rely on that tool? For example, a network devoted to the sale of health products may require more supervision than a network promoting, say, a new fashion line. Making the word “contest” or “sweepstakes” part of the hashtag should be enough. (noun) No. In fact, even if you tell your customers that you aren’t going to pay them but that they might be featured in your advertising, that opportunity might be seen as having a value, so the fact that they knew this when they gave the review should be disclosed (e.g., “Customers were told in advance they might be featured in an ad.”). What can I do? They simply recommend those products to their readers because they believe in them. Nor is it an issue if you get the product for free because a store is giving out free samples to its customers. Some influencers only tag the brands of their sponsors, some tag brands with which they don’t have relationships, and some do a bit of both. People reading your posts in their news feed – or on your profile page – might not know where you work or what products your employer makes. Although the advertiser does not make any claims about the lotion’s ability to cure skin conditions and the blogger does not ask the advertiser whether there is substantiation for the claim, she writes that the lotion cures eczema. That common-sense premise is at the heart of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Endorsement Guides. Our company website includes testimonials from some of our more successful customers who used our product during the past few years and mentions the results they got. I’m starting a new Internet business. Here are some elements every program should include: It’s unrealistic to expect you to be aware of every single statement made by a member of your network. If “likes” are from non-existent people or people who have no experience using the product or service, they are clearly deceptive, and both the purchaser and the seller of the fake “likes” could face enforcement action. Indeed, if #ad is mixed in with links or other hashtags at the end, some readers may just skip over all of that stuff. An endorsement must reflect the honest opinion of the endorser and can’t be used to make a claim that the product’s marketer couldn’t legally make. If I write an article sharing my thoughts about the resort destination, how should I disclose the free travel? However, practices inconsistent with the Guides may result in law enforcement actions alleging violations of the FTC Act. If your product has changed, it’s best to get new endorsements. An endorsement can be added to an automobile policy that gives protection while the insured is driving a car other than the one named in the policy. Advise your clients – the advertisers – that if they provide free samples directly to your members, they should remind them of the importance of disclosing the relationship when they talk about those products. How can I make a disclosure when my message is limited to 280 characters? My company runs contests and sweepstakes in social media. Put a program in place to check periodically whether your members are making those disclosures, and to deal with anyone who isn’t complying. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. When Does the FTC Act Apply to Endorsements? Do we still need to disclose which reviews were of free products? It depends on whether her followers understand that her tweets about products are paid endorsements. FARM ENDORSEMENT APPLICATION CONDITIONS: A Farm Endorsement on a regular Class C Driver License allows operation of vehicles which are: INSTRUCTIONS: I understand it is against the law to make any false certification regarding an application for a Farm Endorsement. You do some research and find a glowing review on someone’s blog that a particular resort is the most luxurious place he has ever stayed. The endorsement is usually made on the back of the cheque. In order to maintain tax-exempt status, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations cannot engage in political campaigning.Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status should be ever vigilant about this prohibition -- a violation could result in severe consequences. The Guides say that disclosures have to be clear and conspicuous. Celebrities chosen to endorse products are almost always in some way linked to the product or service being sold. What about a “buy now” button? To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. One of our company’s paid spokespersons is an expert who appears on news and talk shows promoting our product, sometimes along with other products she recommends based on her expertise. It’s how I start my day!” and takes a sip – a disclosure probably isn’t necessary. Using these features to endorse a company’s products or services as part of a sponsored brand campaign probably requires a disclosure. snowmobiles) may have difficulty even recognizing the celebrities chosen to promote it—but insiders will know exactly who the celebrity is. They should not have to look for it. Do I need to make a disclosure? It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect you to monitor every social media posting by all of your employees. And even assuming the reviewers in your program are unbiased, your customers have the right to know which reviewers were given products for free. It’s a good idea. For example, if an app developer gave you their 99-cent app for free for you to review it, that information might not have much effect on the weight that readers give to your review. Indeed, if #ad is mixed in with links or other hashtags at the end, some readers may just skip over all of that stuff. How do the principles in the Guides affect me? People unfamiliar with a product category (e.g. We tell them to be honest, whether it’s positive or negative. An endorsement must reflect the honest opinion of the endorser and can’t be used to make a claim that the product’s marketer couldn’t legally make. ���Cl��m? The overarching principle remains: If readers of the reviews would evaluate them differently knowing that they were motivated in part by charitable donations, there should be a disclosure. Does she have to disclose when she’s being paid to tweet about products? I’m under no obligation to talk about any knife and getting the knives as gifts really doesn’t affect my judgment. How about on a review site? Different types of STCW endorsements allow you to do different … early access doesn’t mean that you got paid. How Should I Disclose That I Was Given Something for My Endorsement? It depends on whether his followers understand that he’s being paid to endorse that product. review would be considered an endorsement under the Guides. The FTC does not dictate where you have to place the “#ad.” What the FTC will look at is whether it is easily noticed and understood. The question you need to ask is whether knowing about that gift or incentive would affect the weight or credibility your readers give to your recommendation. If a blogger or other endorser has a relationship with a marketer or a network that sends freebies in the hope of positive reviews, it’s best to let readers know about the free stuff. Does she need to disclose that she works for our company? Should I disclose that I got them from an advertiser? Determining whether followers are aware of a relationship could be tricky in many cases, so we recommend disclosure. Whether there should be any disclosure depends upon whether the “like” or “share” could be viewed as an advertisement for your company.
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