Paid Reviews and Testimonials: Disclose or You Will Pay

James Chiodo, Certified Information Privacy Professional CIPP/US

Some online marketers are using paid reviews and testimonials that are in violation of FTC guidelines

An enforcement action against AmeriFreight shows the FTC continues to pay close attention to companies who fail to disclose when they compensate customers or visitors for testimonials and reviews.

FTC guidelines state that if anyone is compensated for giving your company a testimonial or review, you are required to disclose this in a “Clear and Conspicuous” manner so consumers are aware that the people were compensated in some way for those reviews.

Trying to circumvent FTC regulations will not work

Recently there has been an increase by Internet marketers trying to get around the regulations by providing customers a discount for leaving a review rather than paying them directly. This technique also violates FTC regulations.

One company got creative by giving popular bloggers a dress and paid them to post their photo wearing the dress on Instagram. This method was very successful and the dresses sold out. However, without some type of disclosure informing viewers of the relationship between the bloggers and the company, it violated FTC regulations

The Clear and Conspicuous rule

It is important your disclosures are posted clearly and conspicuously so it is likely your customers and visitors will see it. Putting disclosures in your website terms of use or linking to it in the footer of your site does not qualify as clear and conspicuous.

Click here for details on the “Clear and Conspicuous” rule

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