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The End of Online Marketing?
That’s what people thought about email marketing in 2003 when the CAN SPAM act was passed. But it wasn’t. And though the FTC put some brakes on for online marketing this week, it doesn’t mean the end to marketing online, either.
The FTC is cracking down on paid endorsements, such as blogging. So if you’re focusing your lead generation efforts on blogging, but are being PAID to blog, then, you have an issue to correct.
From December 1 onward, you’ll have to openly display that there is a relationship between you (the blogger) and the company whose product you’re endorsing. You’ll also have to tell folks about that relationship on Twitter, Facebook, or other new media places where you’re advertising. However, to be policed, a complaint has to arise, an investigation ensue, and if convicted, the person or company could face a hefty fine of up to $11,000 per incident. Yet, the FTC says that first-time offenders will most likely receive only a warning, and that the fine will only be levied for repeat offenses.
But it all comes down to full disclosure. That’s something that is easily handled right within a post. Not sure how it could be done on Twitter, but hey… Not something I do on Twitter, either.
Another aspect of doing business online arose at the beginning of September. The FTC also outlawed automatic voice broadcasting for promotional purposes. This is definitely true of sales calls, but it may not cover the case of providing information, such as notification of a teleseminar. Yet, the ruling is so cloudy, it’s not worth taking a chance of being fined thousands of dollars per call if you don’t handle things just right.
Will either of these things stop Internet marketing? No! However, marketers who want to survive — and not be called into question — will follow the rules. Forced continuity needs to be prominently disclosed. When someone gives you a testimonial that they have made a great deal of money using the company’s system, marketers will also have to mention that the results aren’t typical and what typical results might be. And you’d better have solid proof for any claims your copy makes.
This is reasonable, really. There are cheaters, scammers, and liars out there that have been getting away with robbing consumers for years. And though recent legislation makes it a little trickier for online businesses, what the FTC is demanding isn’t going to put you out of business. It’s just a matter of tightening up what you have and doing things the right way going forward.
For some big businesses, this is a major undertaking, but if you’re still one of the smaller businesses online, making adjustments should be manageable. One easy way to make sure you’re in compliance is not to use testimonials that include specific dollar amounts. You can use testimonials that say how awesome your product is or that they have used it and love it, but once you start getting into actual dollars earned, you need to let people know that if they sit around and do nothing, they won’t make ANY money, let alone what your stellar testimonial claims they have made.
This is just a broad overview of recent events affecting online business. We are not attorneys and don’t presume to give you legal advice. You should consult with your own legal counsel and be sure that your business is on the up and up. To learn the right ways of doing business online, check in with The ListBuilding Club. We’ll give you step-by-step videos that walk you through the process of setting up a business that is ethical and that will last. Go to http://www.ListBuilding.com and claim your membership today.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tellman_Knudson
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