Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Advertisers Using Deceptive Practices, Buying Off Bloggers

Laurence Benhamou from is reporting that some advertisers are using pay for blog services to deceive customers:

THE curtain has been pulled on a deceptive new advertising tactic in which companies camouflage ads as product praise masquerading as independent blog postings.

Several companies have been exposed for launching fake blogs - known as “flogs” - in a practice that coincides with an increase in the number of real bloggers secretly paid to endorse products.

Online firm Technorati reported it was tracking more than 63 suspicious blogs.

Wily marketers have infiltrated the blogging world, paying for favourable commentary on products.

However posting product commentary without alerting readers that bloggers were compensated for their opinions is unethical and potential illegal, according to US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules.

I think this post kind of steps over what is actually occurring quite a bit. Now I know that there are a fair share of companies that do indeed use this tactic fully knowing that it is deceptive and potentially illegal and are just hoping to not get caught. However I disagree to an extent on the illegal part of this article. If the company is indeed using the blog in such a way intended to deceive customers into purchasing something that is either misrepresented or falsely stated. The article seems to imply that simply not telling readers you are paid is illegal which is just not the case, yet. The FTC ruling from a few weeks ago was simply an opinion and not a law or rule the FTC has imposed but could in the future.

To be safe and avoid any legal or non-legal backlash as a result of being paid to blog simply disclose your affiliation with a disclosure statement or a line in the post indicating you are being paid.

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