Mommy Bloggers Could Be Held Liable for Product Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission's new rules require more transparency by bloggers.

ByABC News
April 9, 2009, 5:32 PM

Oct. 7, 2009 -- Mommy bloggers beware: Reviewing products online without disclosing that they were given to you for free could result in a slap on the wrist, or even a hefty fine, by the Federal Trade Commission.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the FTC revised its guidelines Monday regarding the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, which could affect thousands of bloggers.

"For bloggers, this means that if they are receiving payments or products to blog about from advertisers or companies, that relationship should be disclosed in their blog," FTC spokesman Richard Cleland said.

The revised guidelines also include new regulations that require celebrities who frequently tout the success of products they use on their social media sites or during talk show appearances to disclose "their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads."

For mommy blogger Colleen Padilla, who launched her blog,, as a way to chronicle her life as a new mom more than three years ago but quickly saw it transform into a business venture, the FTC's decision means she must be diligent about disclosing where she gets the products she reviews online.

"I plan on being even more specific about who sent me what or where I bought this," said Padilla, a Philadelphia mother of two who has used her blog as an outlet to review more than 1,000 products, everything from diapers to toys to infant-safe creams.

Padilla told in April that she was nervous about the impending FTC guideline change, and worried how a revision in its policies could affect her burgeoning business.