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Acting Responsibly With Your Video Testimonials and Endorsements

May 31, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 103

How, when, and where to disclose; these are the questions many online bloggers, reviewers, and testimonial writers alike are asking. The concept of "full disclosure" is a confusing one for many people. In December of 2009, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) revised its rules and regulations about endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The old rules, more than thirty years old, were in place before the Internet and no longer applied to today's vast arena of advertising. Since the new rules took effect there is much discussion and confusion amongst endorsers and advertisers, whether receiving compensation for a product or service or not.

The idea behind the FTC's rules and regulations is to make it easier for the reader/consumer to decide if they should trust the opinion of the person endorsing the product or service. If the endorser is honest and up-front about his or her compensation for a testimonial or review, the reader is more likely to trust the opinion and even more likely to purchase said product or service. This works well for people who are paid or compensated in some way for their opinions.

The problem comes in when determining when a review or testimonial is considered an endorsement. To determine whether a full disclosure statement should be present when giving testimonials or reviews, the FTC says there has to be a connection between the endorser and the company providing the product or service. Many examples are given on the website, most having to do with television advertising. The following example from the website illustrates how full disclosure should be handled when endorsing a product or service online.

A consumer who regularly purchases a particular brand of dog food decides

one day to purchase a new, more expensive brand made by the same manufacturer. She writes in her personal blog that the change in diet has made her dog's fur noticeably softer and shinier, and that in her opinion, the new food definitely is worth the extra money. This posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.

Assume that rather than purchase the dog food with her own money, the consumer gets it for free because the store routinely tracks her purchases and its computer has generated a coupon for a free trial bag of this new brand. Again, her posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.

Assume now that the consumer joins a network-marketing program under which she periodically receives various products about which she can write reviews if she wants to do so. If she receives a free bag of the new dog food through this program, her positive review would be considered an endorsement under the Guides.

There are a couple different ways to address full disclosure online. One way is to provide somewhere on your website a separate posting or page with a disclosure statement. The posting or page should be visible on your HOME page as a link so anyone interested in reading it can get to it easily. Another way is to make your disclosure in each review or testimonial you write. This way, the reader does not have to wonder if you are being compensated in some way, and does not have to go looking for the answer. Either way is sufficient and meets the guidelines set forth by the FTC.

If you are unsure whether you should provide a full disclosure statement in your review or Video Testimonial, the best practice is to be honest. Provide that disclosure if you are at all confused. Let your readers know that you have nothing to hide and are being honest and up-front about any compensation you might be receiving for your opinions. The FTC is not going to come after you if you neglect to provide full disclosure, but your readers will appreciate your honesty.

Kevin writes on a wide range of subjects and insists that he will never stop learning. Internet Marketing and website promotion using Video Testimonials is another string to his ever widening bow.

Source: EzineArticles
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