FTC Truth-in-Advertising Revisions – The Area to Watch

With regard to Handshake 2.0's Social Media Authenticity Policy – Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials, Mark Schaefer – author of the blog {grow} and whose Can You Outsource Authenticity? I cited in my post explaining the origin of Handshake 2.0's Social Media Authenticity policy - asked, "Did the lawyers have any issues with worth mentioning?"

Not then, but they do now.  The Federal Trade Commission announced revisions to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, also known as "truth-in-advertising" rules.  We wrote about "shaking hands" with the FTC Guides here.

From Ken Maready,  head of Venture Counsel, a law firm for entrepreneurs, on the latest revisions to the FTC Guides:

I think the area to watch in practice is when there’s any kind of exchange going on at all – i.e., you blog favorably about a local company and that local company writes something favorable about you, or gives you free ad space or an equivalent benefit, even if not quid pro quo in your mind.  It is these areas where people are going to get caught up inadvertently.

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Ken Maready heads Venture Counsel, a law firm for entrepreneurs located at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. He reviewed Handshake 2.0's Social Media Authenticity Policy – Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials, helping to create a document about which Mark Schaefer – author of the blog {grow} and the post The World's First "Authenticity Policy"? - stated, "As far as I know, this is the first published, legally-validated 'authenticity policy.'"

Ken Maready's chapter, "Legal Concerns for the Web 2.0 Business," was accepted for inclusion in volume one of the new series, Enterprise 2.0: How Technology, E-Commerce, and Web 2.0 Are Transforming Business Virtually, by Tracy Tuten, Ph.D.  The Enterprise 2.0 series is scheduled for publication by Praeger Publishers, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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