The FTC Can Go Pound Salt

As many of you may be aware, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has new mandatory guidelines (laws?) for bloggers who review products. As I understand, the gist of it is that bloggers must disclose if they are compensated, etc. for the review. Failure to disclose may result in penalties. Presumably this is to protect consumers from unethical bloggers who will offer favorable reviews for free product or payment. But what about all the blatantly false advertising that goes on in the cosmetic world? You won’t have to look hard to find dozens of visual lies, inflated product claims and outright lies in health and beauty advertising.  Shouldn’t the FTC be out policing that?

It burns me up when I see makeup ads where there is obvious airbrushing and/or use of enhancements- mascara ads are some of the worst. Many ads promises longer, healthier lashes, but the model is clearly wearing fake lashes.  I’ve seen a disclaimer in British magazines stating that the model is wearing false lashes, but never in US ones.  Talk about needing disclaimers! How about “Even our professional makeup artists couldn’t get the look they wanted with our product, so they had to add fake lashes.”

What about airbrushing? Why don’t models have any pores? Why can companies marketing face creams edit out wrinkles so it appears their cream is more effective? To me, this is much more serious than some bloggers getting samples to review.

So, while I understand the why disclosure is beneficial, as far as I’m concerned, the FTC can go pound salt since I’m not in the US.  I also generally don’t get samples either because I mix my own polishes rather than reviewing commercial ones. I don’t accept any advertising at all.  But why is the FTC holding bloggers to a strict legal standard that professional media are not expected to attain? If they’re so concerned about truth in advertising and disclosure, then it needs to apply to everyone. Period.

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About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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29 Responses to The FTC Can Go Pound Salt

  1. Colette says:

    So many good points – I agree! Although I did see a story on the news that they’re going to attempt to crack down on airbrushing – I think this was in Europe, maybe France? & the companies were getting all snotty about it. & of course they have the money to lobby against this kind of thing, unlike most bloggers.

    I put up my disclosure policy a few days ago, thinking the whole time that it was dumb crap. Better safe than sorry I guess but don’t expect me to like it.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Yeah, how about the airbrushing? We’re not talking about a few wrinkles here- they are changing body shapes completely!

  2. It simply a matter of money! Plain and simple.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Grr! I totally agree! Guess we’ll have to start paying taxes on that free bottle of nail polish! Sometimes I wonder if that’s what this is all about.

  3. elizabeth says:

    oh my god, seriously. i couldn’t agree with you more.

  4. Kelsea says:

    I completely agree with you there! While it is nice to know that it’s less likely I’ll see a review of a product on a blog that is a complete lie, it is so annoying how false all advertising has become these days. I find myself saying “yea right” to almost every claim I see on TV. And btw, I was literally talking about how annoying it was that models always wear fake eyelashes in mascara commercials about 3 days ago!!! haha! Keep up the great work, I love your blog!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Thank you! Oh, besides mascara, what about:
      Lip Plumpers
      Wrinkle Cream ( a major pit of lies)
      Whitening toothpaste
      Hair treatments- another major fibber
      Facial masks- there was one in Japan that promised you’d look 5 years younger or your money back.
      Seriously, what about disclosure for THEM?

  5. amber says:

    I completely agree. I think DIET pill ads are the worst.

    With that being said…

    I’m hosting a giveaway. Lol.

    Amber

    ambersmouthwash

  6. Deez says:

    I agree with everything you say here… I have written about this often as well…… I don’t want to put up a disclosure policy but I will anyways…. sigh.

  7. Shayla says:

    I’m not in the States either, so gladly I don’t have to worry about it. You have many, many good points and I agree with you wholeheartedly…sh*t will hit the fan if they decide to try and police bloggers outside of the States as well.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I was thinking about that….my blog server is in the US but I’m not, so as I understand it, the law doesn’t apply. Yet. Maybe the FTC will be sending out assassins. They’re going to lure me into a dark parking lot with a trenchcoat full of very hard-to-finds, and then do the hit. I’m gonna be extra careful! 😉

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I’m thinking this is a First Step towards more control over the Internet. Sounds like a wacky conspiracy thing, but I bet they are going to try and tax bloggers on their free stuff.

  8. Samantha says:

    I also agreee. I’m from the United States where we do have to do this stupid FTC disclosure policy thing. Truthfully, when it comes down to it, who would you trust to bring you information about a product and their experiences with it? Some magazine that inflates their claims about a product, or a blogger who tells it like she sees it? Personally, I go with the latter.

    I put a Disclosure Policy page on my blog too, and added my own note to it. I still agree that this is BS (and especially since bloggers are getting the word out about nail polish more than any other advertising medium, really), but since it is law, I better abide. *rolleyes*

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Well, at least you’re protecting yourself, which is good. I mean, none of us are gonna be getting 6-figure checks from Essie to drool over their latest collection of nudes and pinks (sorry, Essie, but you have waay too many safe colors- give us more of the funky ones!) But magazines are much less trustworthy than bloggers have ever been, in my opinion.

    • Sharon says:

      How many bloggers tell it like they see it, though? Every sale is the best ever and every new line is the best ever and every new collection has a few things that every reader needs. And when a polish never dries (CND) or chips in less than a day (Zoya’s mattes) or applies horribly (was that Butter London’s issue? I wasn’t clear after the tongue-bath the initial release got) well, that wasn’t interesting enough to blog about. Of course.

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        Sharon,
        Interesting point, but I don’t fully agree. Bloggers will offer their opinions on a sale or event, but they don’t fabricate the details of the event. Maybe they get overly excited- we’re all guilty of that! but no one is forcing readers to participate in that sale.

        I have never had the issues with CND that you mention (I know you’re just citing examples) and I have seen bloggers review products negatively. Readers also need to know that bloggers may have more experience with nail polish and better techniques, just like makeup ads have professional artists, lighting and editing teams. I think if a reader doesn’t have a good experience with a product and a blogger does, that doesn’t necessarly mean the blogger is fabricating or covering up a flawed product.

        I think a big advantage of blogs is that readers can respond directly and comment if they think a review is inaccuate. I find that most bloggers do honest reviews, even when they are negative. For what most of us have spent on our hobby, a few measly bottles of free nail polish is not going to sway us. For the time most of us put in preparing material for readers, we’re not going to trick our audience for the sake of $3 bottle of polish.

  9. Kaybee says:

    I’m with you completely. I don’t get samples, I don’t advertise, I buy what I blog about, but a lot of the blogs do get freebies. I always see them state that it’s a freebie and the review is not always positive. I think we all take reviews with a grain of salt (speaking of salt lol) anyway. If I see something I like I buy it, whether it’s in an ad or a blog, but I love having the blogs to count on for honesty. Seriously, the makeup ads look like avatars anymore. I don’t believe any of that. I think the FTA should do something about that too.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      That’s a great way of putting it- the models do look like avatars- no wrinkles, no pores, nothing. It holds women to an impossible standard, and that’s a far greater ill for society than bloggers.

  10. Violet says:

    I know what you mean! As someone who works in the advertising industry the double standards I see are ridiculous!
    I accept freebies sometimes but I always put something on the review to let readers know that it was compensated and my reviews are far from positive if I don’t like the product. I even have a disclaimer on my site saying that by contacting me advertisers agree to honest reviews and if they don’t like it they can not bother. I think that bloggers who don’t disclose things like this are really only hurting themselves because it loses a level of trust with the readers.
    I completely agree that they shouldn’t be going after things like this until they sort out the mainstream advertisement.

  11. Krystal says:

    I’m in the minority here, but I’m glad to know that a blogger is getting samples for free, and I really want to know when she’s paid for her reviews, because it makes their reviews change for me. There have been a lot of very easy builders on how to get a privacy policy and the other items that the FTC wants… took me about 30 minutes of reading, and maybe 10 minutes of coding.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Crystal, I do completely agree that it’s not a bad thing for the bloggers to disclose- far from it. What’s getting me is that the giants in the industry can make vastly inflated claims and mislead people with impunity and they don’t have to make disclosures. I think most bloggers are generally more honest than the advertising departments of cosmetics companies- I cannot tell you many times a product doesn’t live it up to the claims made by the manufacturer. In fact, I can count the number of products that DO live up to their claims on one hand. So, what I’m really angry about is the double standard between what’s required from bloggers and what’s required from the cosmetics industry.

      • Sharon says:

        But bloggers aren’t ad departments, and blogs aren’t ads. And that’s a big difference.

        We know when Company X that sells Y blogs about how great Y is, it’s an ad (or more accurately an advertorial). But when Sharon over here blogs about how great Y is, shouldn’t we know that Sharon’s never going to pay to buy Y and if she’s negative about Y Company X isn’t going to keep sending her free stuff? I think so.

  12. nevertoomuchglitter says:

    It still doesn’t answer my basic question: why are blogs held to a standard that print media isn’t? I see plenty of ads that are NOT advertised as “advertorial” and have radically overstated claims. So if the big guys can make dishonest claims and women everywhere expect and accept that the claims are not true, why can’t everyone assume blogger’s recommendations are also “advertorials?”

    Look, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. But when women expect to be lied to by magazines, cosmetic ads, etc. then why is there an expectation that Internet sources to should be any different? To me, this seems like requiring cyclers to have a license but allowing people to drive giant tractor trailer trucks without one.

  13. kelliegonzo says:

    agreed. make us do it? make THEM do it too. that’s all i have to say 🙂

  14. beautyjudy says:

    Three cheers for you! I agree with what you’re saying about making EVERYONE accountable!!!

  15. Lucy says:

    It all comes down to money. Blogger don’t have it so why not try to go after them. Bloggers don’t have tons of lawyers either. I agree with what your saying. It amazes me when I see those maxcara ads. It’s so obvious that there are about 2 -3 sets of false eyelashes on. The whole business of anything beauty related is about fantasy. We are all hoping this makeup or polish, perfume, creme will change us and our lives. We’ll find the perfect mate, perfect job, have the most tremendous time and have everyone envious us if we use this product. I also think that they’re are trying to edge their way into the internet to control it. Maybe start with small areas and then move on and control all of the content. Your doing a fantastic job and I agree with all of you.

  16. Kristina says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! These new FTC guidelines are a bunch of bull. Don’t they have anything better to do?

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