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Direct Response Marketing

Regulations Not Typical

1 Dec, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

Need an example? Sater has one. “The FTC gives an example of a body lotion and a blogger who writes that it cures eczema when there is no substantiation for that statement,” he says. “The FTC says the marketer could be liable for what the blogger said if it gave that blogger anything of value. Every marketer who works with bloggers should have a program in place for monitoring them, and consult with legal counsel regularly about that program and any problematic blogs that are discovered.”

Goldstein calls this facet of the new Guides “one of the great surprises.” She adds, “This portion of the Guides is not directed solely at fake blogs — or flogs — but could have an enormous impact on the relationship between marketers and the blogging community in the future. Under the revised Guides, even if the marketer does not have control over the content of what the blogger says, if product is provided to the blogger, this is a material connection that must be disclosed, and the FTC has stated that the advertiser has an affirmative obligation to monitor the statements of these bloggers. These statements by the bloggers will be considered ‘sponsored’ communications rendering the advertiser potentially liable both for the content of the communication, including product claims, and for the requirement that any material connections be disclosed.”

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