Reinforcing Advertising Rules for Bloggers

BlogBloggers who are paid by companies to advertise a product or service must come clean about the relationship, according to the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This should be just a reminder to bloggers because the rules aren't new-but apparently they aren't followed consistently.

The ASA article indicates that bloggers asked for clarification:

"Why are we doing this? We've received a steady stream of enquiries from bloggers wanting clarity on this issue and how the rules apply to their blogs."

Below are the rules:


2.1    Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such.

2.2    Unsolicited e-mail marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as marketing communications without the need to open them (see rule 10.6).

2.3    Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context.

2.4    Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them "advertisement feature."

Part of the issue may be that bloggers are paid but asked by companies not to disclose the relationship. Although this puts bloggers in a difficult position, the rules-and ethics-are clear. Perhaps companies need the reminder, not bloggers.

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Discussion Starters:

  • What situations may be blurry for bloggers? Think of a few examples when the rules may not be clear.
  • What are the U.S. rules for bloggers? Research the issue and compare the advice for U.S. blogger.
  • What are the rules for people who tweet? Should celebrities, for example, reveal their relationships with companies they promote?