Influence marketers, such as celebrities and those with large followings on social media, often promote products of some sort in exchange for payment or other perks. While this is a great way to supplement their income, it is important to make sure that viewers are aware that there is compensation for the marketing efforts.
This is perhaps most commonly seen when an influence marketer talks about how much they love a certain piece of clothing or accessory. They then have a link to that item, and will get paid when someone clicks the link and makes a purchase. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of marketing, as long as it is clear that the marketer is being compensated, according to the FTC.
Unfortunately, many of these marketers are failing to take the necessary steps to properly let people know that they are being paid. As part of their ongoing effort to crack down on these ‘unethical’ marketing practices, the FTC has sent out letters to more than 90 influence marketers as a warning that they need to be disclosing it when they are being compensated for their efforts.
Which influence marketers received the letters was not released, but they will likely continue to send out warnings to more and more people if they don’t comply with the FTC requirements. If violations continue, the agency will almost certainly take more punitive actions. In the past, the FTC filed charges against Warner Bros due to their improper payment of YouTube stars who were asked to promote a new video game. The case was eventually settled.
Whether you received a warning letter or not, if you’re engaging in any type of influence marketing, this is just one more reminder to make sure you are double checking that you are in compliance with all their requirements.
You can read the full statement about the letters that were sent by the FTC HERE.