Question: I’ve recently heard about lawsuits that are being filed and FTC starting to regulate paying for or giving consideration for people writing reviews, and I know Google dissallows setting up a kiosk….What’s your view on this?
Answer. As for the FTC and “paid reviews,” yes you are right. Here’s the link to the FTC endorsement guide. First, let me get on my political soapbox. I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who coined the term “nanny state” for the government having to save all of us from our own stupidities… It’s all well and good for the FTC to “regulate” the blogosphere and reviews, but at a higher level the whole society is completely full of corruption at the highest levels of government, academia, and the media… and THOSE things are never cracked down upon. How many times do I watch the Daly Show and “surprise, surprise, surprise,” the movie being advertised has the same movie star who Jon happens to be interviewing!
So, yes, technically speaking… these should be disclosed. When I send out free samples of my books, for examples, I do tell the reviewer that they should indicate that they received a free copy of the book. But for all intents and purposes, I am so small and unimportant that I’d be overjoyed if the FTC noticed me. And that’s the situation for most of us: we are just trying to get ANY exposure and ANY links, and the disclosure requirements do little other than scare away decent reviews. So it’s up to you (and your lawyers) as to how you handle this in terms of blog outreach.
As for Google Kiosks, not sure what you mean here. I do know that Yelp, in particular, is very aggressive about trying to fetter out “paid” reviews, and if you are busted, they will post really ugly notices on your business listing. Some day Karma will catch up with Yelp, but for now, they are the most aggressive private company that I know of when it comes to being the Nanny corporation.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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