Is It Legal To Post Online Reviews Of My Product?

is it legal to post reviews of your own productsWe regularly work with online product sellers, so people often ask: Can I post online reviews of my products? We answer: Only if you prominently disclose your connection to the product. Because it’s against FTC regulations to litter the Internet with phony product reviews that appear impartial but aren’t.

Note: Officials regularly execute fake review stings. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently censured a trampoline company for the offense.

What happened? Well, a trampoline company — which we’ll call “Acme Bounce” (not real name) — presumably wanted to boost sales. To shorten a long story, representatives from the company allegedly bought some domains. According to reports, those websites present as impartial-trampoline review sites featuring “expert” advice. “Acme Bounce” regularly received top marks on said sites.

Well, things weren’t necessarily as they appeared. To shorten a long story, according to the FTC, “[One of the trampoline review websites] was operated by [Acme Bounce] and the company owners.” Additionally, some of the comments on the sites were “not authentic,” and instead “created by the owners of [Acme Bounce].”

In the end, “Acme Bounce” had to pay a sizable fine and agree to certain provisions.

The Four Main Rules Of Online Reviews

Steer clear of an FTC online review-related conflict by following these five rules.

  • Don’t write and post reviews of your products under another person’s name to make it appear like it’s a neutral consumer. If you post a review of your own product, the first line of said review should be something along the lines of, “I am {NAME}, the person who sells this product.”
  • If you give your product away in exchange for a fair review, the reviewers must disclose any material benefit received in exchange for posting an “honest opinion.” If you sell on Amazon, note that any type of incentivized review is off limits. [LINK]
  • Understand that if you hire a marketing company to promote your products, you’re responsible for said promotional company’s actions. The “I didn’t know what they were doing” argument doesn’t work when it comes to unfair and deceptive marketing. [LINK]
  • Remember: Factual claims made in promotional materials must be backed up with data and test results.

Click here for a full list of online marketing Do’s-and-Don’ts. [LINK]

Connect With An Online Product Marketing Attorney

Are you grappling with an online marketing or online sales issue? Perhaps you want to avoid future pitfalls and are looking someone to perform and online marketing audit? Either way, our team has considerable experience working with brands and professional marketers. Get in touch today to begin the conversation.

Article Sources

(2017, June 8). FTC Tramples Fake Reviews. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ftc-tramples-fake-reviews-74147/

Davis, W. (2017, May 31). FTC Charges Trampoline Sellers With Creating Fake Review Sites. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/302115/ftc-charges-trampoline-sellers-with-creating-fake.html

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