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FTC Backs Away From Idea Of Fining Bloggers

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Earlier this week, the FTC strongly suggested that bloggers be upfront about any sort of compensation they receive for endorsing products. It strongly suggested this to the point that many bloggers believed they might face big fines, in fact. But the FTC has clarified its stance and probably won’t go for your bank account anytime soon.

So no – you won’t be fined $11,000 each time you receive a review copy of a book and don’t explicitly mention it. While it remains a good idea for you to say if the review copy arrived at your door accompanied by a new Lexus (and honestly, if you’re getting bribes that big, you deserve the fine), the FTC will just write letters to bloggers in most circumstances.

It turns out that the $11,000 fine is more of a maximum penalty. What’s more, since the FTC itself can’t impose fines, it would have to take you to court, turning the whole thing into something of a circus.

Richard Cleland, the assistant director for the FTC’s division of advertising practices, explained to Cecilia King, “The confusion has arisen, I think, because we do have authority to ask for a civil penalty to be imposed by the Federal district court judge in the event that trade regulation rules are violated.” But “there is no realistic scenario that we get from here to there.”

Keep doing what you do, then, assuming that doesn’t consist of receiving crazy bribes.


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