Heath's Blog


You Could Be Fined For Endorsing A Product In Your Blog

Earlier this month, the FTC made a ruling that basically says, if you endorse something in your blog, and you don't disclose how you benefit from the endorsement, you could be fined. And the fine could be up to $11,000! If you don't believe me, here is an ABC story on it. http://www.abcnews.go.com/Business/mommy-bloggers-held-liable-product-reviews/story?id=8764885

So does that mean all Internet testimonials are now the subject of scrutiny? Celebrity endorsements have always been seen as paid for, but they don't have to disclose that in their ads. Does the Internet provide a higher level of trust than other advertising mediums? Or is it that Mr or Mrs Normal Public has become more believable than F. Amos Person endorsements?

Whether the ruling stands or not, if you are endorsing anything or anyone on the Internet, you might consider a statement describing your relationship with it or them just to avoid any problems.  For the record - I have nothing to do with ABC, nor with their writers, nor have I received any compensation or reward or even a thank you for linking to the article above. None of my relatives works for ABC, and I thought ABC was just the first three letters of the alphabet. Oh yeah, it's the first three notes, in that song, too! I don't even know who wrote that either and I have no relationship with them, get no royalties, and I am telling my kids to stop singing it!

Whew, that was close.

Heath Coker, Associate Broker
Robert Paul Properties
www.CapeGroup.com / capegroup@capegroup.com
508-274-5613  Licensed in MA
Its a beautiful day on Cape Cod!
@CapeGroup  Skype: heath.coker

REindex.com, The Site Engine®
508-274-5613  reindex@reindex.com
See our 2 Minute YouTube www.REindex.com/WhatIsREindex.html

James Heath Coker | Create Your Badge


Aw geeeez...does that mean if I recommend a plumber, electrician....etc., etc., that I am also "on the hook" ? Toooo much gov't is not tooo good for anyone, hmmmm ?

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago

I guess the key here is if you benefit from them. For instance, if a lender recommended a realtor, do they have to say that the realtor sends their clients to him?   It's all in disclosing everything I guess.

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 10 years ago

Yes I knew I blogged about it a couple of weeks ago.  It is rediculous.  Then I read the bill on cap and trade and it will hurt every homeowner.  What are we doing but with each bill giving up our ability to live in freedom.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 10 years ago

I think it's just a disclosure....we are all used to that. If we get something out of the endorsement (does the inspector give us a free inspection if we recommend him) then we need to disclose it.....a good idea for us to live by.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 10 years ago

If you watch the video it is aimed at people commenting on blogs, too.

Posted by Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA (http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com) over 10 years ago

Heath - this is such a broad based ruling. Do I have to "disclose" if I have ever received a margarita on the house from my favorite Mexican restaurant? Do I have to disclose that I own stock in a company if I mention their product? Do I have to disclose that I get a small pension from another company if I mention their product? Just what do I really have to disclose?

I am not considering actively hiding some relationship, but, if I have ever gotten a pen or pad of paper from a home inspection company, do I have to disclose that?

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) over 10 years ago

No kidding! What if they bought me a cup of coffee once? What if they complimented me and made me feel better? What is the extent of "receiving" something.  lol.  I think the goals is to make what look like "Mom" endorsements disclose that they actually are paid ads.  But, some attorney somewhere will expand the idea to cover more than intended.

Posted by Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA (http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com) over 10 years ago


Either don't get me started or where do I start.  THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS LOST ITS MARBLES.  They treat everyone as having an IQ of 2 (Which appears to be the sum total of their collective IQ).

I agree with your post, but I have never had any prior dealings with you, you haven't paid me or compensated me in anyway for this post, however, we are both members of active rain and you will be getting "points" for your post and you and I will get point for my comment, although the points are not based in anyway as to the nature of the content of my post, or yours for that matter.

Oh yeah, we both are professionally licensed RE brokers and may, from time to time work collaboratively on real estate transactions in the future for which financial compensation will be involved, however the terms of such future collaboration and compensation have yet to be determined.

Have I left anything out?


Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) over 10 years ago

I've not had a problem with this because I am governed by the same rules that apply to all journalists. In fact, if I receive a book to review and review it, I'm supposed to send back the book. I would want to know if I read an endorsement whether the person endorsing it is paid to do so. Gifts are payment. I prefer to rely on endorsements from neutral sources. I suspect most people do.

sacramento agent

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 10 years ago

What the hell!!!????  This is crazy.  I guess I can't mention that I blew my nose this morning into a Kleenex tissue.  What next?

Posted by Tom Boos, Providing the very best of service to Sellers and (Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living) over 10 years ago