A couple weeks back I read about many people lamenting the new FTC rules regarding disclosure on blogs. For those in the publishing industry, this may have a big impact on book reviewers who have received a free copy of a book, agents promoting their clients' works, etc.
Today I saw a great example of why this rule is needed, although I agree that it was implemented on too broad a manner.
It started with this news article. The article itself has nothing to do with this blog post, other than the fact that it's a starting point. When I got to the end of it I read "Acai Berry Side Effects: In Our Shocking Special Report We Investigate Acai Berry" and I clicked on the link, curious. I'll sum it up, but you should really read the whole thing yourself. And then make sure you read the end of this post.
The Investigative Special Report starts like this:
"Bloggers around the country are raving about the weight loss benefits of Acai. We put their claims to the test in our Exclusive Report"
I thought it would be interesting to read the report. Maybe someone actually did some sort of reputable test. I read on, eager to see what it said. It said this:
"...we here at the station are a little skeptical and aren't sure that we've seen any real proof that these pills work for weight loss. So we decided to put these products to the test. What better way to find out the truth than to conduct our own study? To get started, I volunteered to be the guinea pig."
The article then goes into full infomercial mode. And wouldn't you know it, the intrepid writer actually "Lost 25lbs in 4 Weeks, No Special Diet, No Intense Exercise"
Then there were comments at the bottom. Guess what? Each commentor was a) excited to try it, b) able to talk about success from a family member that tried it, or c) promoting their own success story, often involving feeling GREAT in just minutes. I would have loved to leave comment of my own, but wouldn't you know it, the comments were closed.
And then I read the fine print, which I will post for your here, but in a larger font and with emphasis added...
THE STORY DEPICTED ON THIS SITE AND THE PERSON DEPICTED IN THE STORY ARE NOT REAL. RATHER, THIS STORY IS BASED ON THE RESULTS THAT SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THESE PRODUCTS HAVE ACHIEVED. THE RESULTS PORTRAYED IN THE STORY AND IN THE COMMENTS ARE ILLUSTRATIVE, AND MAY NOT BE THE RESULTS THAT YOU ACHIEVE WITH THESE PRODUCTS.
It is important to note that this site and the stories depicted above is to be used as an illustrative example of what some individuals have achieved with this/these products. This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this blog, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story.
This page receives compensation for clicks on or purchase of products featured on this site.