Ad or Review, Sweep or Sham

The FTC has ruffled so many feathers lately among bloggers and advertisers. I find the ruckus to be rather amusing. The FTC is based on fair trade for consumers and vendors alike. My personal dealings with the FTC were brought to my attention over 10 years ago when working in the car business. You see that MSRP sticker…what we call the Maroney, is there because of the FTC. The “Buyer’s Guide” on all used cars is really a FTC disclosure that dealers were or are not implying nor stating that the vehicle you are purchasing used has any warranties implied or there within, but the vehicle is “As IS” if not otherwise stated.

Full disclosure is fun.

Now here is what is even more fun. When PR or a vendor asks for you to review their product they are basically asking for advertising, free advertising on your blog. Well I should not say FREE, because technically PR paid for the product and or “sample” to send to you for you to promote and you receive and keep said product for payment. But here is what is fun about bloggers. Some claim “cut and paste” of press releases, which is completely fine as LONG AS the press release adheres to the FTC guidelines of “deceptive, unfair advertising” [Source: FTC, 2009] and to be sure that the wording is not making specific “claims” expressed or otherwise.

Your opinion is one thing, the copy and paste….well no harm really in doing that UNLESS the press release falls into the aforementioned of “claims….deceptive and/or unfair advertising.” In which you and the advertiser will be fined. Plain and simple.

Now…..lets move past the already rehashed and regurgitated bullshit of ads, reviews, FTC, bloggers, blah blah blase and into Sweeps. Yes, giveaways, contests, swag for loot whores. We are all loot whores. Who does not want free goods. Who does not want anything free? Sweeps have been scrutinized heavily on the conduct, the integrity, the moral fiber in which they are threaded through the blogosphere and otherwise. All the rules are basically the same, Tweet, follow, comment, blah blase.

Did you know this is more than likely against the law? Yes. Just like the claim telling someone that their charitable contribution is unlawful for extra entries into a sweep, your blog sweep….MY BLOG SWEEPS are more than likely unlawful. While we are offering the “no purchase necessary” catch line, technically we are requiring people to visit our blog to enter. They have to enter that way right? Guess what…NOPE. In fact, we can offer postcards for entry. Don’t believe me….read more….then have fun bickering and creating rules amongst yourselves. Be advised….the FTC also has oversights into sweepstakes as well…..if you thought the FTC was crawling up asses before….maybe you should be more aware of your “compliance” and actually read up on the FTC, what they do, how they represent YOU, other consumers, etc.


This post has every intents and purposes to be informative.
In no way attacking, finger-pointing, accusatory, and should not be considered as such.

Are there any rules about ads for contests or sweepstakes?

Sweepstakes-type promotions that require a purchase by participants are illegal in the United States. Other agencies, including the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), also enforce federal laws governing contests and prize promotions. And each state has laws that may require promoters to make disclosures, seek licensing, or post a bond. Since state laws vary, check with the Attorney General’s Office in the state(s) in which you plan to advertise. If a contest or promotion involves telephone calls, the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule requires specific disclosures, such as the odds of winning a prize, how to participate without buying anything, and that no purchase or payment is required to win. If pay-per-call services are involved, the FTC’s 900 Number Rule requires certain disclosures. For more information, ask the FTC for the publications Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule and Complying with the 900 Number Rule. [Source: FTC, 2009]

21 Replies to “Ad or Review, Sweep or Sham”

  1. My god, are people making so much freakin money off their blogs that the FTC has to get involved?

    Sheesh, shouldn't they worry more about usurious bank fees.

  2. I feel like I might punch the FTC, although my hand isn't that grossly huge….

    We should burn our bras, yes. Burn them in protest! Wait, its 2009? Not the '70's? Oh crap…

  3. Thank you for the info… this is exactly why I dont do that many giveaways… LOL too much info and too much to get in trouble for 🙂

  4. Ummm….that is a little worrisome. So, now I need to get a PO box so people can enter via mail? How are they going to hear about my giveaway if they don't have a computer? Crazy!

  5. Holy Crap Bat Man!
    YIKES is all I gotta say – this information (by the way well presented – kudos to you) certainly makes ya think… and think some more…

  6. I still don't get it. Makes me want to shoot of rage rockets at the FTC.

  7. Great and thorough post! I have only had one request from a company to do a review and I politely declined. I just don't feel like doing any right now but if I did I'd want to make sure I was in compliance with the FTC. I also believe in full disclosure in regards to my readers. Omitting information is the same thing as lying and that's not how I roll.

  8. I don't know if I wish I had started blogging an doing giveaways before the FTC jumped in or if it's better to not really know what it was like before they made the new rules. It is all a little frustrating and confusing though, your post did a good job of clearing some things up for me. Thanks.

  9. You are scaring the cr*p out of me! The last thing I need is the FTC trying to get involved with my blog. I just started hosting giveaways!
    p.s. very informative. but scary!

  10. HUH?! I don't do giveaways, so maybe that's why I don't get it? Or maybe I don't know how to read…? 😉 I'm gonna go eat some chips and salsa now.

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