If so, this is good news for consumers. Frauds like Kevin Trudeau have been peddling their snake oil to anyone willing to shell out the bucks, often under the ironic guise of being “consumer watchdogs,” protecting consumers from “the establishment” and “big pharma.”
Trudeau is the obvious con artist extraordinaire among the CAM crowd, but there are many more, often operating websites that are put together that resemble personal blogs but are designed to be money-making machines where click-thrus earn advertising revenue or, more to the point, the blogger gets a kick-back, free sample, or payment for favorably reviewing a product. The latest FTC ruling will affect these bloggers by demanding disclosure of these “freebies and payments” and will ensure that hyped up claims must be backed.
The Federal Trade Commission on Monday took steps to make product information and online reviews more accurate for consumers, regulating blogging for the first time and mandating that testimonials reflect typical results.
The FTC will require that writers on the Web clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products. The commission also said advertisers featuring testimonials that claim dramatic results cannot hide behind disclaimers that the results aren’t typical ((FTC: Bloggers, testimonials need better disclosure [AP via Google])).
In case you were wanting to look at the official federal guidelines, here’s the PDF file straight from the .gov itself.
Only time will tell if it has any appreciable affect on scam sites and unethical bloggers of homeopathic nonsense, chiropractic, anti-vaccine nutters, and other assorted CAM proponents. Perhaps this will give skeptics and skeptical bloggers a tool in countering these scams and potentially harmful blogs and sites if we have the ability to report potential violators and violations of FTC guidelines.
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