The FTC Attempts to Further Explain the Blogger vs. Print Freebie Rules

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Photo: iStockphoto

This week a lawyer for the FTC was unable to explain the crackdown on bloggers receiving freebies that began in 2009. The regulations state that bloggers must disclose to their readers when they're writing about free stuff, but, many bloggers wondered, why were print editors seemingly exempt from the regulations? "That's a very good question I don't think I have the answer to. I don't know," the lawyer told Racked's Danica Lo. Since we covered Racked's findings, the FTC's social-media expert e-mailed us the following:


As an FYI, I’ve been in contact with Danica since the article was released to clarify our Endorsement Guides. I’ve explained to her that the Endorsement Guides apply across the board. We’re not as concerned with the medium, rather, whether or not readers understand the relationship between the writer and the company. If there’s a blogger out there who gets freebies all the time and the readers understand that, then they wouldn’t necessarily have to disclose. Conversely, if there’s a print writer out there where the relationship isn’t obvious that they’re being compensated in some way, then they are required to disclose. As it is, in most cases people understand in print what the relationship is. That isn’t the same for blogs at this time.

So, get it?