Category Archives: review sites

FTC updates rules for bloggers and social media

If you are using your blog or twitter or other social media to sell or promote stuff you should read the new update, where the FTC addresses the many questions since the new vague regulations last December. Read that here:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm

If you’re not aware, The FTC is the United States Federal Trade Commission and they are basically responsible for protecting consumers from predatory or deceptive marketing tactics.  e.g. smoking is safe and healthy! is a lie and as much as the tobacco industry might  like to say that to sell more, they can’t and it’s the FTC among others who try to keep things clean.

The FTC have been in existence for much longer than the internet, 1914 to be exact.   The underlying law hasn’t changed much in intent: Protect Consumers.     The rise of the internet new forms of marketing and distribution (e.g. blogging and twitter) have arisen and the regulations have had to be updated as there hasn’t been anything quite like them before. e.g. what can you say in a tweet of 140 characters?

Last year that updated the regulations to cover flogs (fake blogs), with fake testimonials, and also for normal popular bloggers that were getting free products, cash or other compensation for doing a review of a product.  If you have kids you can imagine how you learn to trust a fellow mom or dad to give objective advise, if they were a Schill, you should be aware that their motive for telling you about a product might be tainted with their desire to make money from it.

The problem for marketers/affiliates was that they FTC were pretty vague about what they actually wanted, and what the consquences were.  This lack of information allowed all sorts of hype and myths to arise.    This was so intimidating that many major courses chose to lauch early to bypass the regulation, and after the passing many pro bloggers adopted either a wait and see attitude to let other less cautions people get sued by the FTC first, or went hogwild with disclaimers bigger than the core message they were trying to deliver.

FTC they listened and compiled the common questions an answered them in that new post, that is a much saner picture, They aren’t a Big Brother watching every blog, if you get something wrong they aren’t going to take your first born, and will take problems case by case.

So if you are selling or promoting anything on the internet, please read it for your own protection. It’s a single page.  Read it here.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm

Use 4 key learning styles in writing news to get your message across to 100 percent of people

If you want to reach 100% of your audience in a reviewer style content you can still use the 4 different learning styles, just in a different order.

I was recently asked how to create content based on the 4 different learning styles but for celebrity news, by a user who just didn’t know how to apply the rules

The basics are the same, the order is different as the news reader intent is different.  You are writing looking backward “What just happened and what does it mean” vs looking forward “why and how to do something” when educating.

In particular for news I’d model the Associated Press they are everywhere, and for celebrity news I’d mirror Yahoo OMG http://omg.yahoo.com/)

they roughly switch to the order of the 4 different learning styles to:

  1. What
  2. How
  3. Why
  4. What If (optional for objective reporting, great for controversial)

Let’s take a look at this news article http://omg.yahoo.com/news/teri-hatcher-sued-by-former-business-associate/45435

  1. What: Teri Hatcher sued by former business associate  (Headline)
  2. How Months after former “Desperate Housewives” co-star Nicollette Sheridan sued ABC Studios and creator Marc Cherry for assault and discrimination, now co-star Teri Hatcher, ABC and the Walt Disney Co. have been targeted by a woman who helped run Hatcher’s production company and claims that she was pushed aside and denied a promised 50% cut of revenue from the venture. Jennifer Glassman, an industry marketing vet who has worked for the Paradigm talent agency, New Line Cinema and her own branding/PR shingle, alleges in the lawsuit that she went into business with Hatcher in 2006 to run her shingle, ISBE Prods., in exchange for 50% of the profits generated. But after pouring her heart into the venture, Hatcher and ABC have worked to “intentionally exclude and eliminate (her) from the picture in terms of revenue sharing just prior to the successful launch of a prominent website supported by Disney,” according to the lawsuit.The nine-count complaint for unspecified damages was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
  3. Why Glassman says she played a big role at Hatcher’s ABC-based company, selling projects like “Burned Toast” to Lifetime and two scripts, “Fried” and “Mercury Rising,” to ABC. Disney also recently launched a Hatcher-branded site called gethatched.com through its family.com website. During the run-up to the launch of the site, Glassman says Hatcher abruptly soured on her and sent a mass email in February alerting business contacts that Glassman was no longer working with her. Disney-owned Touchstone TV then allegedly followed up and terminated her.Glassman “never knew or had reason to know that (Hatcher and Disney) were concealing the fact that they intended to try and treat (Glassman’s) business and employment relationship with them as an ‘at will employee’ relationship, and ultimately ‘terminate’ her without cause while trying to eliminate (Glassman) from the picture, business-wise,” the complaint states.”This lawsuit is based upon ridiculous fabrications and is completely without merit,” Hatcher’s rep countered. “It is unfortunate that the many opportunities Ms. Hatcher afforded the former employee are now being so implausibly twisted and contorted. The suit will be vigorously defended by the Walt Disney Co. and by Ms. Hatcher’s attorneys, who also intend to file substantial counterclaims against the former employee for her reckless and premeditated misconduct on her departure.”Glassman attaches to her complaint emails from Hatcher promising partnership, although there is no formal agreement alleged. The only employment contract alleged is a 2007 form deal that Glassman calls a “mere formality” because it doesn’t include terms of employment, compensation, job duties or title. She has sued for breach of an implied-in-fact contract.

    She also claims she handled duties above and beyond the usual, including running errands and handling Hatcher’s “mood swings and unusual requests.”

  4. What If (insert your own controversial conjecture,) what if Hatcher was bipolar or an pregnant? sound off in the comments!