OMFG! The FTC is Gonna Get You!

We have been much amused this past week or so by the reaction to the FTC’s new guidelines for bloggers. They have been widely over-hyped – Mashable, I’m looking at you – and, while we understand that everyone wants to write a news post that catches attention, hysteria in this regard doesn’t add much value to the conversation.

“OMFG! The FTC is going to arrest me for keeping this book I reviewed!” is funny, but not super-helpful.

A little clarity comes from Legal Times in an interview with Mary Engle, the FTC’s associate director for advertising practices at the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Key quotes:

  • The new rules are just guidelines: “They are not rules and regulations and they don’t have the force of law.”
  • “Our focus is on the advertiser, not the individual endorser.”
  • The FTC, “has never brought a case against an individual consumer endorser.”
  • They’re only going to look at black and white cases: “We’re not interested in playing gotcha in the gray areas.”