Legally Using Testimonials for Your Products

We’ve discussed ways to ensure that you, blogger extraordinaire, can enjoy all those blogger perks and freebies without running afoul of the law at Keeping Your Product Reviews Legal.  But, let’s say I’ve  launched my web venture, and I have a product I’m bringing to market.  It’s a fabulous product, and I’ve got testimonials lined up that I want to use to boost my product’s credibility.

In order to obtain those testimonials, let’s say I wooed a few key bloggers in my product niche, and they gladly obliged in return for some free products.

So, I post a few of those testimonials on my site, and the bloggers kindly provide a few product review posts for their followers/readers.

I sit back and wait for the calls and orders to roll in.

Oh, but wait!  Not so fast.  There’s more for me to do.

According to the FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Adve...,” those bloggers have some duties, and I as the product advertiser have some things I must do as well to comply with the applicable laws.

Advise my endorsers about disclosure.

Every endorser of my product must tell their readers about their connection with my business or product.  If I provide them with freebies or pay them for their review, they must say so, and I must inform them in some way that they have that responsibility.   

Monitor what my endorsers say and post.

I’m responsible for what my endorsers say about my products and services.  Let’s say I have a fabulous skin cream, and it has astounding moisturizing properties.  My endorser goes so far as to say that this cream of mine cures some previously incurable skin ailment.  It doesn’t, but they post their review.  We’re both potentially subject to liability for these misleading and unsubstantiated representations.

Create some endorsement guidelines.

The easiest way for me to obey the law is to carefully monitor my endorsers.  I should create some guidelines to protect my brand.  Beyond being the legal thing to do, it’s just smart to always know what people are saying about my product or service.

The FTC doesn’t specifically require the following, but in an abundance of caution I could,

–Require all endorsers sign an agreement regarding endorsements

–Require all endorsers to send their review to me for approval first

–Require all endorsers to notify me if their views change or they make changes to the content of their reviews or testimonials

Of course, these extra steps may be a bit cumbersome, but at the end of the day it’s my responsibility as the brand owner to ensure that those who love my product and are willing to speak well of it do so in a manner that is legal.

Here’s to your business success!

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