New Rules to Social Media Marketing

Online PR/Forum posting/Blogger endorsement, we find bloggers for product trial/to endorse the product, we post messages on forum to promote the product

personally i don’t like brands/agency to communicate in this way

FTC recently regulates the rule on Endorsement & Testimonials, and the rules has extended to social media the first time, which is a big milestone on regulating this virgin land.

I truly welcome this rule, let’s utilize the social media in a right way instead of treating this as another push advertising channel.

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on blogger payola.

The agency, which protects consumers from fraud or deceptive business practices, voted 4 to 0 to update its rules governing endorsements, and the new guidelines require bloggers to clearly disclose any “material connection” to an advertiser, including payments for an endorsement or free product.

It’s the first time since 1980 that the FTC has updated its rules on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. In addition to covering bloggers, the new FTC rules state that celebrity endorsers can be held liable for false statements about a product, and all endorsements must include results consumers can “generally expect.” Previously, an advertiser could cover their claims by the disclaimer “results not typical.”

Update on 13 Oct

Advertising Age has 3 articles to talk about this, see how important it is.

Andy Sernovitz welcomes the new rule

There’s not a single new rule in the FTC announcement. Fake endorsements have always been illegal. In traditional advertising, you wouldn’t dare suggest to your boss or client that you pay off reporters or hiring actors to give fake testimonials. (You’d be fired.) So how did we think the same thing was OK just because it’s social media?

and he points out a very important point that “Remember: This is the law, not a matter of opinion or debate among social media experts.”

Dan Gillmore thinks this is a government gone wild policy

First, the new system is unworkable in practice, which is bad enough. Worse, the rules are worryingly vague and wide-ranging. Worse yet, they appear to give traditional print and broadcast journalists a pass while applying harsh regulations to bloggers (and others using conversational media of various kinds). Worst and most important, they are, in the end, an attack on markets and free speech, based on a 20th Century notion of media and advertising that simply doesn’t map to the new era.

Dan worries about the implementation, the workability, the vague area between the regulation. I think even it’s not that workable, it’s a nice rule to have 阻嚇性. We don’t need a team of internet police to check the messages everyday, but when a complain is received, at least we have a rule to deal with it.

Then we have a FAQ article to the new rule, really useful.

Again, I truly welcome this new policy, even though workability is an issue, I think the official will have further supplement on it, but at least it’s a great start. But well, I don’t think we’ll have this rule in HK, it’s still a virgin land to brand! not a good news at all.

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