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New FTC Rules: Bloggers Must Disclose Swag Sources

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The bag o' swag from our Fashion Week Giveaway contest
The bag o' swag from our Fashion Week Giveaway contest

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Yesterday, the F.T.C. announced that amateur bloggers will have to start disclosing their relationships with advertisers or be fined up to $11,000. The rules don't apply to professional sites, as Wired explains:

Under the new rules, a hiking enthusiast with a personal blog who got a free backpack would have to tell her readers about the gift and also disclose it in any online review. By contrast, established review sites such as Consumer Reports or Wired.com's Gadget Lab do not need to disclose whether or not they get freebies or what they do with them.
In the fashion world, that means an amateur style blogger who gets a pair of boots to "review" could face fines if she doesn't disclose their source, whereas a Style.com staffer who gets free boots is under no obligation to admit it (depending on the company's own internal guidelines, of course). The rules don't yet cover cases like Fashion Toast or Sea of Shoes—major sites independently run by non-professionals. Since fashion bloggers love to talk about where they got their clothes, though, full disclosure might not wind up feeling like such an onerous burden.
· FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined [Wired]