Disclosure that you’re being paid for your positive comments about something must be “clear and conspicuous,” no matter what form it will take. That’s the story from the FTC’s new regulations…right here. Rules take effect December 1, 2009.
While it’s first aimed at peeps who write product reviews – people who are paid to write positive comments – the regs likely include affiliate and network marketers.
If you’re writing positive comments about products, programs or opportunities, you’ll have to disclose that you’ll be paid if the reader buys.
Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. See here.
But Matt Cutts, who’s a long-time engineer at Google and much of whose work is focused on distinguishing genuine product review blogs from fake ones (posted only to make money) writes:
“As a Google engineer who has seen the damage done by fake blogs, sock puppets, and endless scams on the internet, I’m happy to take the opposite position (of Mr. Jarvis – see here-KK): I think the FTC guidelines will make the web more useful and more trustworthy for consumers.
Consumers don’t want to be shilled and they don’t want payola; they want a web that they can trust. The FTC guidelines just say that material connections should be disclosed. From having dealt with these issues over several years, I believe that will be a good thing for the web.”
I tend to agree with Matt and the FTC. You?