Mommies vs. the FTC: Fear and cringing in the pay-to-praise blogosphere


Even for someone who gets blessed with free washers and dryers, semiannual boondoggle trips to Los Angeles, New York and Florida, and all the organic yogurt drinks she can consume, $11,000 is a lot of money. For mommy bloggers, Tweeters and Facebookers who post opinions about consumer products, $11,000 is the size of the fine they allegedly might incur for failing to follow the government's disclosure rules on advertising and endorsing.

According to recently revised Federal Trade Commission guidelines, bloggers and other word-of-mouth advertisers are now subject to FTC rules for advertisers and "endorsers" -- anyone who recommends a commercial product or service. Repeated violations of those rules could result in court-ordered monetary penalties. These new additions to the FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising went into effect Dec. 1, and for many participants in the sometimes-lucrative world of social-media-for-pay, the fear is in the air.