What an interesting article that I just read from the associated press located at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j6DZ0gpsCSwquntzof4FR4yfqYXwD98V7B880 which outlines how the FTC is paying close attention to those in the social media real who accept money or gifts in exchange for articles and reviews for various companies.
I guess itâ€™s the age old scenario of say a regular news media personality who praises and promotes a product mainly because they were offered thousands of dollars as an incentive to do so. As of now, in places like the blogosphere these types of things are usually voluntarily disclosed as opposed to forced in anyway.
This is a really tricky one Iâ€™d say as while I donâ€™t think this will affect those pay per post or paid reviews type of services, since most of them ask that you disclose that the posts are being sponsored, this sounds very broad where even something as simple as an affiliate program can be affected.
An example would be like this. Imagine that I bought something from an online retailer where I thought the service was exceptional which I blogged about all the time. In the future, they offered an affiliate program where I could get a small commission for referring people which I figured â€œwhy not?â€ Currently, all one would do is mostly post banners and links to the company. So would that mean now you have to disclose that you get paid for referrals every time you write say a blog entry on how you just got your item shipped from them?
What this definitely does help with which will benefit everyone are those sites and blogs that claim they make say $100,000 a month with a particular program in an effort to get more leads and sales for a product or service. That would make it a little easier to determine if what they are writing are possibly just fluff to get your money.
I have been offered paid reviews many times for hundreds of dollars as an example and I can tell you that most sponsors definitely want to conceal the fact that they are paying you money to do so. For every offer I usually say that they have to be willing to disclose a bit about their business as well. Sure enough, that has scared away virtually all of the offers from my experience which I think is good as I always want to make sure that I am giving a well thought out and researched analysis.
Will this make it a little more intimidating for people that want to start some kind of side gig in making money online in their spare times with things like a blog? Probably Iâ€™d say. But in general, if you are truly doing it based on a passion which in turn brings in revenue then I donâ€™t think it I going to be too big of a deal in the end.