The FTC’s Endorsement Guides For Twitter

*Disclaimer this is not intended or implied as legal advise. We are not attorneys. Please consult your attorney for real legal advise!

Last winter the FTC made a big announcement that created A LOT of commotion in the online community saying they would be enforcing compliance to their guide lines more stringently in the online world.  Up to that point the online community seemed to be somewhat exempt to making disclosures…even though they weren’t.  Regardless it was not common to do so.

Since that time there has been much talk and speculation about “How” to properly make disclosures.

In June, the FTC published some ways that will keep you compliant.  The following is a direct quote on their website about half way down the page.

What about a platform like Twitter? How can I make a disclosure when my message is limited to 140 characters?

The FTC isn’t mandating the specific wording of disclosures. However, the same general principle – that people have the information they need to evaluate sponsored statements – applies across the board, regardless of the advertising medium. A hashtag like “#paid ad” uses only 8 characters. Shorter hashtags – like “#paid” and “#ad” – also might be effective.

It is important to note that intent of your representation is important.  They write that you don’t have to have an attorney write a disclosure for you if are reasonably trying to make an obvious & clear disclosure.  This means you can’t just hide a button to your disclosures because even the FTC knows that most people will never click thru to read it.

The most important principle is that an endorsement has to represent the accurate experience and opinion of the endorser:

  • You can’t talk about your experience with a product if you haven’t tried it.
  • If you were paid to try a product and you thought it was terrible, you can’t say it’s terrific.
  • You can’t make claims about a product that would require proof you don’t have.
  • For example, you can’t say a product will cure a particular disease if there isn’t scientific evidence to prove that’s true.

Bottom line…just adopt a mindset to use full disclosures not only because it will keep you out of trouble with the FTC but it actually will help your marketing because people will trust you.  If they trust you they will like you.  If they like you then they will want to know you.

Remember the magic formula for having a successful business online.  People WILL do business with those they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.

Have some fun with the disclosures, after all we try really hard to only put stuff on this site that would be of great benefit to you or has been to us. We might even make some money if you click on an affiliate link inside our website in which you end up buy some stuff from our partners.  If it is something that you feel will make your business more money, liberate your time, or automate processes, we hope you will and make no mistake we hope to thoroughly enjoy spending our commission on something fun and hopefully not only on bills.

Studies show that a fun presentation of the disclosure in a light manner, can actually increase your response rate.  Play with and be yourself, you’ll find what works with you readers.

I encourage you to visit the FTC’s site and read the guidelines.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm

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