As online endorsers gain more notoriety and influence, the need for clear cut rules on how brands interact with bloggers (and on the internet as a whole) also increases.
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guide on endorsements and testimonials has been around since 1980 but two years ago, the guidelines received an update to reflect the proliferation of social media, blogs and digital marketing campaigns.
Save for a few disclosure notices here and there, not much has changed in the blogosphere when it comes to the transparency between endorsers and the brands they review or represent. And aside from the slap on the wrist that the FTC gave Ann Taylor due to lack of disclosure, no precedent has been set for how the FTC is going to handle regulation violations in the future.
Luckily there’s one company that wants to make sure you never have to worry about being out of compliance with the FTC: CMP.LY.
CMP.LY (comply), launched in 2009 with the intention to simplify required disclosures in social media by creating a tool to help bloggers and other digital influencers comply with the updated FTC guidelines. Now, they also offer products that address and meet compliance requirements for the SEC, FINRA and the FDA.
According to a recent Ad Age article, the company’s free service is designed for individuals to use, providing shortened URLs — ideal for a Twitter post — that link back to a disclosure page with statements of up to 500 characters.
CMP.LY also offers paid solutions for brands, agencies, legal/compliance officers and general consumers. Fees can range from monthly retainers between $200 – $1,000 per campaign. The sliding scale is based on customization of badges, and API access.
The growing complexity of digital marketing across an always increasing number of online platforms underscores the need for a product like CMP.LY.
However, until the FTC actively enforces the new guidelines, I don’t think a lot of influencers or brands will buy into it.
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What do you think? Would love to hear from bloggers, influencers and brand reps. Would you consider using even the most basic version of CMP.LY?