Companies that use nontraditional media, such as blogs, to market their goods and services must still comply with the advertising laws and regulations including the prohibitions on false and misleading advertising. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) amended its Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials to include several new forms of marketing such as blogs, “street teams,” and other word-of-mouth advertising. These changes were outlined in detail by Paul W. Mussell earlier this week on Duetsblog. In the example of blogs, both the advertiser and blogger could face liability for not clearly and conspicuously disclosing a material connection or for false or unsubstantiated statements made through the bloggers’ endorsement.
Additionally, companies looking to use other social media platforms need to be aware of the terms and conditions of use agreements for those particular forms of media. For example, Facebook issued its own guidelines for running a promotion on its platform. The guidelines include a number of requirements and restrictions for administering a promotion on Facebook. The law is evolving when it comes to nontraditional media for marketing purposes and it is crucial to be abreast of any new developments before undertaking any nontraditional marketing effort.