Unless you’ve been hiding from media headlines since October, there’s a good chance to heard something about how the FTC (Federal Trade Commission – whose job is to “(work) for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them”) is changing how bloggers and brands can represent each other online.

To read the full news release from the FTC, visit http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm.

The changes actually affect all testimonial advertising, bloggers, AND celebrity endorsements. But let’s just assume you’re not a celebrity, or hiring a celebrity, for a moment ;-)

So how does this affect you?

The short and sweet is that when a review is given with non-typical results, typical results must be clearly outlined. The other point is that the connection between the consumer and brand must be disclosed. ie: The posting blogger must disclose that he/she was contacted by the brand and what the terms were, if it’s a brand they’re personally representing, doing it for a family member, etc., etc.

And for Heaven’s sake, never create misleading content. It’s a big no-no in advertising and blogging crosses into that territory.

Of course, this blog post in no means constitute any sort of legal advice and you should always, ALWAYS read the rules for yourself and consult your own legal counsel if you have any questions about how to interpret any guidelines.

Visit http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm and look under “related items” to download the latest guidelines for endorsements. (These are always subject to updating and revisions, so I’m not posting a link to the current document – instead, I’m telling you where you can find the most recent version.)