photo courtesy of hyku
FTC handing down $11,000 fines? Yikes!
When first announced, the changes to the FTC Act of 1980 caused quite a stir throughout the blogging community. The idea was that if you were endorsing a product, you had better disclose your relationship with that company. Were you given a free sample? Did they let you keep that $5,000 product in exchange for a glowing review? After many for-profit bloggers were seen as becoming the mouthpiece for advertisers and more or less company spokesman, the FTC decided to step in and stem the tide of possible false claims in exchange for free stuff.
Although some of the heat from the initial announcement has died down thanks to some explanations by the FTC, it is still a good idea to disclose any relationships between blogger and products or services.
I bumped into Kris Smith of CMP.ly (as in "comply") quite randomly at Blog World Expo 2009. He started a conversation with Jeff Turner, Todd Carpenter, and I and he gave us a quick rundown of CMP.ly and I thought it sounded like a great, simple idea. Back in the hotel room, I loaded up the site and checked it out.
screen capture from CMP.ly
Use of the site is about as simple as it gets. Go to CMP.ly and select one of the five (currently) available disclosures. Once selected, the site will give you a quick and easy cut and paste wording to provide a link to your disclosures (which according to Kris Smith were checked out with the FTC and comply to their definitions of disclosure). Paste onto your post and away you go. Full FTC disclosure compliance in seconds.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://cmp.ly/0
(see how it works?)