I posted a pair of stories on my Engagement Principles blog about the FTC’s newly released regulatory stance on Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing.

Right now I’m on a pair of tough deadlines, but I wanted to move the highlights before it slipped off too many radar screens.

First, this Advertising Age story (my initial source) makes it clear that the FTC isn’t going to launch a blanket investigation into the Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing industry for fraud (as requested by Commercial Alert – a consumer watchdog group).

However, Advertising Age failed to mention the FTC Staff Opinion (pdf alert!), which suggests those getting paid to offer recommendations must disclose that financial relationship.

This could have a significant impact on those currently accepting undisclosed “Pay-to-Post” assignments, and clarifies the FTC’s thinking that paid forms of stealth marketing are probably illegal.

Brian at the CopyBlogger raises some interesting questions about the effects on affiliate marketing.

I’m sure this issue will generate buzz on the blogosphere (no, I wasn’t paid to say that), and I’ll revisit it here just as soon as my deadlines are behind me. Keep writing, Tom Chandler.

[tags]ftc, wom, word of mouth marketing, marketing, pay-per-post[/tags]