New Study Reveals Widespread Failure to Meet FTC Disclosure Requirements

Preston Holland Jan 16, 2017

Based on BrandVerity’s work with some of the largest U.S. and European brands, we had a suspicion that affiliate bloggers often were not using proper disclosures of endorsements. In the past, this may not have been a big deal i.e. no penalties for brands or bloggers. But in the last two years, the FTC has stepped up its efforts to ensure compliance with the guidelines that have been on the books since 2009.


In particular, 2016 charges against Warner Brothers and Lord & Taylor brought native advertising into the spotlight, with the FTC charging that the companies had misled consumers by failing to disclose sponsored content. The FTC has also held a number of public workshops and published content on their website to educate bloggers and brands on the guidelines with regards to disclosures in native advertising. Today, those who fail to properly disclose endorsements are at risk, and recent enforcement actions show that most likely it will be the brand who bears the brunt of FTC penalties.

To get a clearer picture of the affiliate content landscape, we monitored 100 affiliate bloggers in the fashion industry and assessed how compliant they are with FTC guidelines governing the disclosure of endorsements.

Here’s what we found:

Only 4% of the blogs we evaluated included FTC-compliant disclosures.

In light of a more active FTC, this data point should make brands nervous. Virtually no one is following the published and now well-publicized FTC guidance.

Today, we are pleased to announce the release the full report based on the study: Putting Disclosures to the Test: Marketing Compliance, Bloggers, Advertisers, and FTC Requirements.

The report includes:

  • The compliance checklist we used to evaluate sample blogger population
  • An in-depth analysis of why certain disclosures passed and why they failed
  • A roadmap to mitigating compliance risk


Want to mitigate risk and ensure regulatory compliance with the FTC? Download the report.

Topics: Marketing Compliance

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