PRNewser has received a statement via email from FTC spokesperson Betsy Lordan in the commission’s office of public affairs in response to our inquiry following yesterday’s settlement with Reverb Communications. We asked the office about the frequency of misleading endorsements. (Reverb’s Tracie Snitker has noted that the settlement with the FTC did not include an admission that they’ve broken any laws.) The statement reads:
While we do not have any specific data as to how often these practices are occurring, we hope that the Reverb settlement will encourage advertisers and PR agencies to make the necessary disclosures when engaging in online marketing campaigns. FTC efforts to combat misleading endorsements include monitoring the Web for deceptive practices and bringing law enforcement action where appropriate. In addition, the agency has been actively engaged in consumer and business education since the release of the revised Guides. We believe that the combination of outreach and law enforcement action will provide both consumers and industry with guidance in this area.