There has been a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) around the FTC ruling regarding social media endorsements. I agree with many that it is actually a good thing and I don’t believe it can or will be applied as broadly as some people fear.
WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, has provided some good insight on the ruling. Anthony DiResta, WOMMA’s general counsel prepared a slidecast presentation entitled “Practical Answers to Important Questions on the FTC guides“. And John Moore, gets to the heart of blogger’s concerns with “Will the FTC come after me?“. He provides this assurance (emphasis mine):
According to Anthony, the FTC will listen to complaints filed by consumer groups, trade associations, attorney general offices, the Better Business Bureau, and individual consumers about potential abuse of endorsements in social media channels. If a submitted complaint interests the FTC, an investigation may begin and some form of punishment may be handed out if violations are found.
So no … the FTC will not play the role of big brother and track every blogger’s every move. The FTC will, however, pay attention to suspicious activity if they receive credible complaints about potential abuse.
To preserve the credibility of the medium for consumers, bloggers, and marketers, I believe it is in everyone’s best interest to call out and ultimately prevent blatant misrepresentations – which is ultimately the intent of the ruling.