Standard Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal expert who is familiar with the area of legal expertise you need.
It may seem like I to talk about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on a somewhat regular basis – https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/federal-trade-commission/, I don’t like talking about it, but I think it’s important bloggers / vloggers as well as those who run websites or post affiliate links on social media sites recognize why I raise the issue as much as I do. I added the tag Federal Trade Commission recently and went through as many posts as I could find that included Federal Trade Commission and added the tag to those posts. If nothing else, read this blog post by someone who’s an attorney: https://www.tricia.me/2013/03/14/affiliates-take-note-new-ftc-disclosure-guidelines/. I have linked to her post before and find it’s one of the best out there.
The sad thing is how many bloggers and vloggers among others are violating the law when it comes to affiliate links. The worst offenders are often the ones who post links to the FTC guidelines on affiliate links, but don’t appear to have read the guidelines as they are blatantly violating the guidelines. It’s only a matter of time before the FTC cracks down on bloggers, vloggers, and people who run websites that are not following the guidelines.
As I noted in several of my earlier posts, this applies to non-U. S. citizens who have American citizens reading their blogs or watching their vlogs. It also applies to American citizens who have readers or viewers outside the U. S. if the blogger / vlogger hasn’t researched the disclosure requirements in other countries.
I noticed a recent blog post where a blogger suggested listing every item in a photo as to where it came from. I don’t follow this blogger, but she has a Sponsor page and it’s clear that she hasn’t read the FTC guidelines as she has so many violations it’s only a queston of when the FTC cracks down on her.
If you are mentioning products by name, especially if you are including links – affiliate links or not, then you need to note if you are receiving compensation, including affiliate link fees or free products. The notice should be right next to the link; not in the header, on the side, or at the bottom of the post.
So far, the FTC hasn’t cracked down on bloggers or vloggers, but it’s only a matter of time before they do with as many bloggers and vloggers who haven’t bothered to see if they are in compliance. I know of several very well-known and respected genealogy bloggers who are in violation. If I thought telling them would make a difference, I would. If that’s not bad enough, one blogger I read is a legal expert who is in violation. At least they haven’t made the unwise decision to include a link to the FTC guidelines although I am not sure the FTC will be as lenient as they are a legal expert.