Ethical blogging – US Bloggers

If you’re a blogger in the US, you should be aware of the FTC’s Revised Endorsement Guides which have been expanded to include social media.

The revised Guides – issued after public comment and consumer research – reflect three basic truth-in-advertising principles:

  • Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading;
  • If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances; and
  • If there’s a connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed.

Under the revised guidelines, the FTC places emphasis on making sure the audience understands the reviewer’s relationship to the company whose products are being reviewed.

Under US law, an act or practice is deceptive if it misleads “a significant minority” of consumers. So even if some readers are aware of the practice of bloggers being paid or rewarded by brands, many readers aren’t. That’s why disclosure is important.

The FTC explains: “For a review in a newspaper, on TV, or on a website with similar content, it’s usually clear to the audience that the reviewer didn’t buy the product being reviewed. It’s the reviewer’s job to write his or her opinion and no one thinks they bought the product – for example, a book or movie ticket – themselves. But on a personal blog, a social networking page, or in similar media, the reader may not expect the reviewer to have a relationship with the company whose products are mentioned. Disclosure of that relationship helps readers decide how much weight to give the review.”

The FTC advises that bloggers include a written disclosure within the body of sponsored blog posts. A single disclosure on the blog homepage is not deemed to be sufficient. The FTC isn’t mandating the specific wording of disclosures.

Similarly, tweets/Instagram posts which are sponsored should include the hashtag #ad, #paid #paidad and #spon.

FTC Staff Reminds Influencers and Brands to Clearly Disclose Relationship

GoogleBest practices for bloggers reviewing free products they receive from companies

For further information and details, please visit the FTC website.

Further reading:

Further information on “nofollow” for specific links and information on Google’s stance on paid links

24 April 2013 – Disclosure for bloggers and brands

11 March 2015 – Brands and Bloggers: Keep Your Sponsored Content Legal

12 March 2015 – Online Etiquette & Laws for Bloggers

01 April 2015 – Sorry Affiliate Bloggers, But Your About Page Disclosure Doesn’t Cut It

17 April 2015 – Bloggers Beware: Image Copyright Infringement Is Costly

11 March 2016 – Best practices for bloggers reviewing free products they receive from companies

19 April 2017 – FTC Staff Reminds Influencers and Brands to Clearly Disclose Relationship

FTC – Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers

©2022 Bloggers Required - Blogger Outreach Service Since 2012 | T&Cs and Privacy Policy

Contact Bloggers Required

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly. We aim to answer all queries within 24 hours.


Receive NEW & EXCLUSIVE blogging assignments via our weekly email newsletter

Join over 16,000 bloggers and subscribe to our mailing list to receive NEW and EXCLUSIVE blogging assignments, giveaways and news.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?