The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a ruling about disclosure that basically says, “if you get something and decide to write about it, you have to disclose that it was given to you and/or whether you were paid for the review.” (Some great thoughts and the details are written up here by Whitney Hoffman. Add those to your reading.)
I love disclosure. I believe in it. Sometimes, there are some hair-splittings on what should be disclosed and where and how. I do my bit by having a very clear about page section on disclosure. If I do a sponsored post (like for my friends at IZEA), I’m certain to disclose it all over the place. When I post something with an Amazon link, I point out after the link that it’s an Amazon link.
So that’s me and my stance.
My company, New Marketing Labs discloses client relationships in our tweets. We disclose through our projects any relationships of these kinds as well. We’re disclosure-happy. Why? Because it’s the right way to handle it.
I believe that explaining where one might have an unnatural bias on a matter is important. It’s the right thing to do.
Will I make mistakes or forget to mention something? Sure. But then I’ll fix it.
I don’t think this is all that crazy. I think the ruling is obnoxious because it steps into the Internet, which bugs me from a future thinking perspective, but beyond that? Nothing too nuts to see here.