Consumers have the right to know when attempts are being made to influence them commercially. Advertisements must be easily recognisable as such, regardless of the method of presentation or advertising channel. This requirement concerning the recognisability of marketing applies to all forms and channels of marketing, including blogs and other social media.
For example, it will be advertising if
- a blogger gets percentages when purchasing products from a company and subsequently mentions the products in blog posts.
- a company pays a blogger to post a link to their webpage
- the blogger gets paid for the number of clicks on the link, or by the number of purchases consumers do after clicking on the link.
The enterprise should instruct all bloggers to openly disclose cooperation and benefits that they received. It is important for a blogger to mention the company's name in connection with the product, and that he or she has received the product from the company as a gift or for evaluation.
A company that advertises is responsible for compliance with the law when marketing through his or her blog. A blogger who recommends a product, service, or other gratuitous benefits received from an enterprise, is, in fact, engaging in marketing on behalf of the company, even though the blogger would not be obligated to discuss the product in his or her blog. Advertising agencies and PR agencies may also incur a liability if they have prepared a text for an advertising message or if they are hired by a trader to pay a private individual to mention one of the company's products.
Consumers can provide feedback of hidden marketing by contacting the blogger or the company directly or they can also make a report about marketing (in Finnish). Reports will be used for supervisory purposes.
Recognisability of advertising in blogs, Consumer Ombudsmans guidelines
Recognisability of advertising
Feedback on marketing