FTC Settles Fake iTunes Reviews Row

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ruled against a marketing firm which had used its own employees to post favourable testimonials about a video game on Apple's iTunes store.

The FTC found that online marketing firm Reverb Communications had used its own employees to post favourable reviews about a client's video game, encouraging customers to purchase it. This kind of practise has been labelled as "deceptive advertising" by the FTC.

According to BBC News, the FTC ruling is the first related to a set of recently introduced guidelines designed to regulate the use of bloggers, celebrities and online reviews for marketing products on the Web.

"Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers," said Mary Engle, director of the FTC's Division of Advertising Practices.

Reverb executive Tracie Snitker, speaking to the New York Times, said: "Rather than continuing to spend time and money arguing, and laying off employees to fight what we believed was a frivolous matter, we settled this case and ended the discussion."