Results Not Typical

The Federal Trade Commission has taken a solid step towards regulation of bloggers, first by declaring that any “in-kind” contribution for a product review must be considered an official endorsement and requires disclosure. Despite the fact that I — of my own volition — did so on the one occasion I was actually given something free to review, I think that’s a process I’m going to have to discontinue. So from this point forward, if I review something, you won’t know whether I’ve received any compensation for it. So take it for what its worth. (As a side note, if anyone wants to send me something free to review, I’ll gladly accept it!)

But their regulations changed in another way… It used to be that if you were advertising a product with customer testimonials that highlighted non-typical results — i.e. “I lost 243 lbs on BulimiaRX dietary supplement!” or “Cheatypants McSweatervest’s revolutionary system has me making $25K a month from home with only 10 minutes a day of work!” — would need to not only provide their current small-font “Results not typical” disclaimer, but would now have to clearly document typical results:

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

So I think I’ve got the solution:

Barack Obama, Sept 12, 2008
And I can make a firm pledge: under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase* – not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.

* Results not typical. Families making less than $250,000 can expect to see rises in cigarette taxes, increased energy costs through cap and trade and/or gasoline taxes, soda taxes, and mandates to buy costly insurance plans they can’t afford. They can expect to pay all the taxes levied on “corporations”, as well as the cost of new regulations, who will pass those on in the cost of goods. Families can expect taxation through the form of inflation, eating away at the buying power of their paychecks. Firm pledges have not taken Viagra and should not be expected to last more than 4 hours.

There. Thanks, FTC. You’ve cleared up a lot with these new regulations.