Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued new rules regarding the relationships or endorsements and testimonials in advertising, which has a particular impact on independent bloggers.  According to an article appearing in the New York Times, beginning December 1st, bloggers who review or endorse products must disclose any connection with advertisers, including the receipt of free products, or whether bloggers were paid in any way for posting certain endorsements.  According a Digital Media posting on CNET, authored by Caroline McCarthy, the FTC release indicates in part: … “Thus bloggers, who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

Include me as one blogger who endorses this new guideline. 

When writing my commentaries on this blog, I do disclose as warranted, any financial or other considerations that I might have with sponsors or clients that may benefit from a posting.  I’ve always thought that this is what readers should expect.  I have further observed that the majority of my fellow independent bloggers commenting on supply chain topics tend toward full disclosure of relationships, which is a credit to this particular blogging community.

On the Spend Matters blog, Jason Busch povided his commentary regarding this new ruling, and noted that to insure consistency of practice the FTC should look at traditional media and industry analyst firms that may well be in violation of the spirit of this ruling.  I echo these comments.  Media outlets that provide both editorial commentary and sell webcasts and other promotional marketing activities owe readers full disclosure.  All Industry Analyst firms should, in turn, disclose when a mention and/or ranking of a technology provider or company involve a paying client.

Regulation of independent bloggers is welcomed, and I trust that traditional media and industry analyst firms will also step-up to the spirit of this ruling.

What’s your view?

Should traditional media and industry analyst firms fully disclose their material connections when writing about certain providers? Provide your comments at the bottom of this posting.

 Bob Ferrari