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Grapevine University: FTC 101

“What is an FTC? Why do I need to include a disclaimer? Can anyone give me accurate information?”

Your friends at Grapevine are here to provide you with all the necessary and accurate information to ensure you’re meeting FTC laws for your sponsored videos.

To answer the first question, “What is the FTC?” In short, the Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the US government set forth to protect consumers. What does this mean for YouTubers? It means endorsements and sponsored content must be fully disclosed to your audience to prevent misleading your audience.

Here are some of the basics:

  • You can’t talk about your experience with a product if you haven’t tried it.
  • If you were paid to try a product and you thought it was terrible, you can’t say it’s terrific.
  • You can’t make claims about a product that would require proof you don’t have. For example, you can’t say a product will cure a particular disease if there isn’t scientific evidence to prove that’s true.

The FTC’s Revised Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking”, business.ftc.gov. 2010 June. Web. December 2014.

When disclosing sponsored content to your audience you must be fully transparent in stating whether any monetary exchanged occurred. “Company X sent me these products to try” does not accurately convey you were paid to feature the products in a video. However, “Company X sponsored this video” provides insight to your viewers that you were in fact, paid, to share your thoughts about a particular product.

When in doubt, it’s always best to be fully transparent with your viewers regarding any sponsored content. Better safe than sorry!

As always, more information can be found here: http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus71-ftcs-revised-endorsement-guideswhat-people-are-asking

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