FTC Rules Stealth Marketing Unethical

Ian Lurie Dec 13 2006

buzzmarketingThe FTC has just ruled that stealth marketing – the practice of hiring bloggers or actors to rave about products online or in person – is unethical.

They’re going to begin investigating individual complaints, for starters.

The implications for online marketing are huge.

If you are engaged in word-of-mouth marketing or any form of online buzz marketing including:

    • Paying bloggers to write about you;
    • Paying MySpace users to recommend you;
    • Building web sites that recommend your product, but don’t disclose who built them;

or anything similar, make sure you clearly state who you are.

Compliance isn’t difficult, but it’s crucial – getting busted for unethical marketing will not help you sell, and there’s no long-term upside to flirting with that kind of black eye.

Read the full staff opinion here.

If you want to learn more about word of mouth marketing and the ethical implications, see the Word of Mouth Marketing Assocation: http://womma.org/

tags : conversation marketing


  1. Do we really need the FTC to tell us that these practices are unethical? And since when did being unethical scare off many “black hat” type SEO efforts? There’s always going to be someone trying something to get better rankings and more traffic, whether it’s “right” or “wrong.” As for me, I just keep doing the things I know works and that’s building authority sites with great content that people naturally will want to link to.
    Kelley Rao, President

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