This blog is sponsored by…

Remember those tv ads where the words “Paid Endorsement” showed up on the bottom of the screen while Ed McMahon was shilling insurance?  Or the game shows ending with a list of companies that provided prizes for “promotional consideration”?

Now it seems that the truth in advertising label is catching up with the internet age.  Here we are years into product reviews, blogs, tweets and facebook and finally, finally, the FTC is requiring disclosure when a company is providing payments or goods in exchange for “promotional consideration”.

Advertising – F.T.C. to Rule Blogs Must Disclose Gifts or Pay for Reviews – NYTimes.com

Yes, this is a good thing for advertisers.  Transparency builds trust.  If an advertiser is upfront about their involvement, then consumers can make a more informed decision.  But if the role of the advertiser is hidden and later revealed, that will have a negative effect on the brand reputation.  The downside risk outweighs the benefits of implied independence.

This doesn’t mean that a blog can’t be objective even if they are given goods by an advertiser.  It just means that any unconscious bias will be out in the open for the consumer to judge themselves.

Full disclosure.  This blog is made possible by Verse Group, who is paying for the wordpress subscription.  In exchange for promotional consideration, I have promised to mention Verse Group and Narrative Branding (R) once in a while.  I wear my bias on my sleeve.

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