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New FTC Guidelines Raise Concerns for Social Marketers

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This past December 1st, new FTC guidelines we enacted which have the potential to greatly impact social marketing and affiliate marketers.  The new FTC guidelines entitled “Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” require social marketers to disclose if they are compensated in any way when discussing a product.  This could include receiving a product or service for free.

The new FTC guidelines are squarely aimed at bloggers, forum posts, Twitter and Facebook platforms.  The FTC is trying to enforce transparency if messages by the author could be believed to be that of a sponsor even if the author and sponsor have identical points of view.

While compliance seems to be reasonably non-intrusive, this does appear to be a shift in standards that have been widely allowed in traditional media for years.  Enforcement on the other hand presents many challenges.  How can anyone possibly monitor all of the social media touch points?  On one podcast that I recently listened to, an affiliate marketing expert pondered the opportunity for free publicity.  What if your post becomes the case that goes all the way to The Supreme Court?  Somewhere a marketer and lawyer are licking their chops.

Written by Greg M

January 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm