New FTC Rules – Six Reasons to Comply With Disclosure Guidelines, Wherever You Live
On October 5, 2009, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission released an extensive set of new guidelines governing advertising disclosures that have set the marketing world buzzing with questions and concerns. The new rules go into effect December 1, 2009.
At the end of October 2009, I met with my attorney for a wide-ranging discussion on the new Federal Trade Commission guidelines and their implications for bloggers, affiliates, companies that have affiliates, publishers, webmasters, copywriters and others.
As we talked by the new regulations and how to understand them, six reasons for complying with the rules emerged.
1. Stay out of trouble. As some Internet marketers have claimed, it is indeed most likely that the FTC will pursue egregious violators who have thorough pockets. Nevertheless, small players are nevertheless unprotected to legal hassles and fines if they do not comply with the new regulations, and it is just more prudent to comply.
2. Reduce other risks. Compliance with the new rules will help things go better for you if you get called before the FTC or a brother federal agency for another issue.
3. Earn credibility. As awareness of the new guidelines spreads, possible clients and customers see you in a positive light when you’re clearly and conspicuously complying.
4. Avoid second-hand problems. By complying with the rules, you’ll be less liable in the eyes of the FTC if a rogue affiliate or reviewer acts wildly on your behalf.
5. Be invulnerable to threats. When you’re following the new rules, you don’t need to worry about someone threatening to report you to the FTC.
6. Prevent business damage. If you’re based outside the US, you might think the FTC has no jurisdiction over you. But if you have customers, affiliates, web hosting, shopping cart sets, etc. based in the US, by complying you avoid those aspects of your operation being targeted by the FTC.
You can find the complete, official text of the new Federal Trade Commission guidelines at
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm (look in the right sidebar).