The Associated Press reported earlier this week that the FTC plans to monitor blogs for disclosure.
The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.
There have been calls for affiliate disclosure in the past, but they typically didn’t evolve beyond a small symphony of complainers.
But now that the FTC is focusing on the matter, it’s time for affiliate marketers to start thinking about a strategy.
Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com sees the upcoming regulation as a positive thing in his recent post, “How to Turn Affiliate Marketing Disclosure Into a Selling Point.”
I think Brian makes good points and he wraps up with…
If you’re delivering constant value, most people won’t mind… as long as you’re honest. Sure, you’ll have a few vocal readers with an enlarged sense of entitlement who expect you to work for free, but ignore them.
And if it turns out that the majority of your audience actually does mind you making some money for your efforts while delivering honest reviews and recommendations…
Ted Murphy of IZEA is in favor of stricter FTC disclosure requirements. But how will they be enforced and how soon?
I don’t think audiences will have a problem with the disclosure, so long as it’s not disruptive to the actual content. Stay tuned for more details on this issue.
I’d imagine this will be a big topic in the “Hot Topics in Marketing Compliance and Enforcement” session at Affiliate Summit East 2009, which includes a roster of experts including Leonard Gordon, Director, Northeast Region of the Federal Trade Commission.