Preferred Vendor Directories and The New FTC Regulations

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The new FTC regulations that go into effect December 1st also extend to preferred vendor lists and directories, not just reviews of products on blogs.

This means that if you pay to advertise in a magazine's, website's or blog's vendor directory, and display one of the blog badges that shows you are a member, you have to disclose that you paid to be included. The blogs and sites that you advertise with will also have to disclose that their membership is paid advertising, regardless of how extensive their research and selection process may be. If a blog features your work in an editorial post, and you are one of their advertisers, they will have to disclose that as well, even if it is not a "sponsored post".  If you include the badge or site's logo in your press and awards page, you will have to either disclose that it is actually a paid membership or you will have to remove it.

The FTC does not care if you pay to advertise with another company, but they do care that you are honest about money changing hands for the privilege of being listed on the other site.  It is also important to note that these regulations apply not just to blogs, but to websites, Twitter, Facebook and other areas of social media as well.

The fine for each infraction is $11,000, so be sure to review your websites and blogs and make the necessary edits so that you are in compliance by the December 1st date.

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