The Washington Post reports that the FTC is getting involved in the PayPerPost debacle…
The Federal Trade Commission yesterday said that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.
In a staff opinion issued yesterday, the consumer protection agency weighed in for the first time on the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on such marketing, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.
Word-of-mouth marketing can take any form of peer-to-peer communication, such as a post on a Web blog, a MySpace.com page for a movie character, or the comments of a stranger on a bus.
In my opinion, this should be a self-regulating and self-cleaning mechanism built into the world of online marketing. We should have the ability, and the foresight, to see these types of marketing schemes for what they are… manipulation marketing.
However, considering how vocal some “marketers” are about sketchy practices such as AdSense arbitrage, splogs, and the the inability of reason and the common good to control the market for the benefit of everyone, it seems that the FTC has to get involved to reign in the craziness. Pay per content schemes, whether they be explicit or tacit are not healthy for the blogging scheme, and do not provide bloggers and individuals with a long term sustainable way to make a living.
Provide good content, write about what you love and the traffic will come. You don’t need high stakes SEO or short term pay per post schemes to make a dollar, or an impact, in the blogging world.
So what does this mean for affiliate marketing?
Are links dead?