Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Online writers: Be very careful if you use testimonials

I just searched through my posts on this site, and I cannot find anything related to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines that were issued a few months ago about bloggers and others who use customer testimonials on their websites.

There’s a lot of confusion going around about the details. And, before you take anything I say here as “authoritative,” let me be clear that this is simply my OPINION, my understanding. If you wish to be sure about this for your own online writing/blogging/websites, please go to the FTC’s website, read the regulations for yourself, and if you are really concerned, consult a lawyer. Don’t take my opinion or advice here as authoritative.

As I understand the FTC policy, they simply want various internet marketers and/or affiliate marketers and others to be honest and clear about testimonials used on their sites. In other words, if you have 15 real people giving their own, legitimate testimonials for your product(s) — the best tent poles ever created, the greatest bicycle I’ve ever owned, all-time greatest weight loss success stories, best 1934 Ford mufflers available in the world, etc. — they 1) must be real, and, 2) you must make it clear that “results will vary” and these testimonials are not typical, and, 3) you must indicate that you have been paid or may be paid or will be paid in money, free products, or free services for all this.

At least, that’s how I THINK it works. But, God bless our wonderful government and all the bureaucrats therein, I may be very wrong. So remember, this is just MY opinion or my understanding. Don’t rely on that if the feds come after you.