Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission issued it’s first change the policy on endorsements in over 30 years. From this point forward, if you accept any form of payment for a post, you need to disclose it. PCWorld.com sums it up:
Bottom Line: If you receive gifts, money or any other type of compensation from a product manufacturer or service provider you have to disclose it.
For the record, it’s always been my policy that if there’s any possibility of conflict of interest, I disclose, as do others. Obviously, I work for Namemedia Inc. and when I write about our sites or services, I am going to be slightly biased, but here, the voice is mine and I write about what I want.
A month or so ago, my wife asked me to write a post about a company she had a good service experience with, honestly I forget who it was. I turned her down…much to my later chagrin. I did offer to give her a login so that she might faun over them under her own byline. The truth is that I couldn’t recommend a business I had no experience with, even if my own wife told me to. Yes, the view from the dog house is quite lovely this time of year.
The timing for this ruling could not have been better, coming right after the Izeafest show in Orlando, which is a celebration of the sponsored tweet. I’ll make the statement right here and now, sponsored tweets will be one of the things that will kill Twitter. That and the inevitable move to niche real-time web services. The minute you begin to appear as not genuine in social media, you’re on a down hill slide.
It’s just sad that the FTC had to actually put into regulations that which we, as bloggers, marketers, etc. should have known all along.