Bloggers should take note of this post I found on Kevin O’Keefe’s blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs.
The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission ruled on December 11, 2006 that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships. The Post article made it clear the ruling applied to both the endorser and the company paying for the endorsement.
Companies that fail to disclose such relationships may be held liable for deceptive advertising practices.
O’Keefe has an interesting take that he does not believe the ruling will have much impact on lawyer blogs. But he points out that lawyers should be careful not to engage in an arrangement where a blog touts the lawyer’s services through a paid PR campaign and not disclosed.