First of all, there’s a LOT of misinformation about the new FTC guidelines about bloggers, affiliates, and testimonials.
I’m going to outline the main points (from the link above) and give a couple example disclaimers.
1. Clearly Disclose Typical Results
From the FTC page:
Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.
Notice that you CAN use testimonials with results that aren’t typical. If you do, you just have to also disclose somewhere what the average user might expect.
2. Disclose Affiliate Relationships
From the FTC page:
The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that â€œmaterial connectionsâ€ (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers â€“ connections that consumers would not expect â€“ must be disclosed.
If you get paid or get free “stuff” from advertisers, disclose it.
3. Don’t Lie
From the FTC page:
the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement â€“ or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers
Don’t make false statements (fake testimonials, fake checks, fake results, …), don’t lie, and disclose your affiliate relationships.
Here are a couple example disclaimers. Another great way to find your own disclaimers is to look at blogs or websites that are of the same nature as yours, and look at their disclaimer.
I would put this in the footer of every page on your site.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I suggest you consult your own attorney. 🙂
Disclaimer: I may receive compensation from other websites I mention on my blog. You should probably assume I do. Sometimes (often) products I promote I receive for free.
Disclosure: You should assume that the owner of this website is an affiliate for providers of goods and services mentioned on this website. The owner may be compensated when you purchase after clicking on a link. The owner may also have received the product for free. Perform due diligence before purchasing from this or any other website.
Money Making Disclaimer:
Income examples are representative of some of the most successful participants in the program. Some individuals purchasing the program may make little or NO MONEY AT ALL. These claims are not a guarantee of your income, nor are they typical of average participants. Individual results will vary greatly and in accordance to your input, determination, hard work, and ability to follow directions.
Results will vary by person.
Marketing Story Disclaimer:
Please also recognize that the story and comments depicted on this site and the person depicted in the story are not real. Rather, the story is based on what some people have achieved with these and other similar products.
If you have more insight on this, please post in the comments.
If you have more disclaimer info, please post it also.
If this was helpful please Digg it –>
Lol! I love that little disclaimer you threw in the about not being a lawyer. That made my day! ;P
Thanks for the list of possible disclaimers. There is a lot of mixxed info out there and this certainly helps clarify.
Thanks John for clarify the FTC Guidelines. Just to the point, no more no less. There are a psychosis for the new rules. If you do all in the right way you will never have problems.
Here is what I would like to say, but I guess I would get slammed for it somehow: “If you can’t get off your lazy ass and work you will not make any money.” I get really tired of people who won’t work for a living and blame you for all their failures. I have to agree with the poster above. The FTC is going to make some lawyer rich.
Thank you for the information on the new FCC rules. I was undecided whether or not I needed disclaimers on my WordPress blogs but after reading your post I feel the safest thing to do will be to add them.
Think you can come up with a good disclaimer for a product? :)>
I’m stumped! This “typical results” thing is AWFUL for products that rely heavily on how well a person can follow directions and have patience!
This is the best explanation of the new FTC rules I have read. Also, I really liked the way you gave examples. That means a TON!!
Good post, Jonas. There have been many misconceptions about the recent FTC rulings. Thanks for giving the example site disclaimers 🙂
I question if your footer disclaimer is sufficient. IMO, the FTC word has said “prominent” position and in some cases it could be argued it has to be above-the-fold.
Thank you, John, for this helpful post with disclaimer examples.
Thanks for this information! I was wondering specifically about review sites, and whether the FTC has guidelines about reviewing products. Specifically, I guess, is if you haven't actually purchased the product, can you still write a review without getting into trouble with the FTC? How should that be handled?
Thanks for your help. Your posts are always helpful.
Thanks for this info – coming from you means I had better change all of my sites so that I also comply.
The US Chamber of commerce started such a website with idiot lawsuit of the week. They had some good ones to vote on. Unfortunately, it does not seem to have caught on.
That was an awesome article
very good put up, i definitely love this website, keep on it