The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its new .COM Disclosures standard on March 12, tightening considerably the requirements for disclosure statements for online advertisements, ads and reviews.
In December 2009, they had already made it known that even bloggers were expected to disclose any remuneration (such as free samples or affiliate commissions) that might prompt or influence reviews.
This new standard gets much more granular, and reaches far beyond bloggers’ reviews. If you run ads on your site, receive any affiliate commissions or do reviews of products or services (paid or otherwise), you need to familiarize yourself with the new requirements – they’re significantly more stringent than before. In fact, I see them as more stringent than the traditional requirements for print advertisements.
Visibility of disclosures is the area that saw the greatest focus. There are several references to where the disclosure should be, how prominent it should be, when it should be displayed (and how many times, in some instances), and where it isn’t adequate to display it.