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.”