FTC lacks power to levy finds on influencer first offenders

David Vladeck, former FTC Director of Consumer Protection, said it is unlikely punishments will become more severe any time soon, since the agency does not have the power to levy fines on first offenses under the Federal Trade Commission Act.


Why celebrity endorsement is not influencer marketing

Celebrity endorsement isn’t the same as influencer marketing. With celebrity endorsement the celebrity lends their fame to a brand or product. The product often lies wholly outside the celebrity’s field of expertise. Communication is one way. Celebs just pump out content. They don’t interact with their following. It’s the old broadcast model of communications.

Scott Guthrie

Big budgets don’t guarantee trust. Connecting with the right people builds trust – writes Scott Guthrie

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How to identify influencers using the four S model

75% of communications professionals say identifying relevant influencers for brand strategy is their biggest influencer challenge.

For smaller companies – those with fewer than 50 employees – the figure rises to 82%. So says Augure, an SaaS influencer marketing company.

This post explains how to boost your influencer marketing efforts by helping you to identify influencers using the four S model of:


The model offers a best practice blend of:

Using third-party vendor automation tools
Embedded contextual intelligence of PR practitioners
Institutionalised knowledge management

Scott Guthrie

Identifying the most appropriate influencers at scale is a blend of art and science. The influencer identification four S model breaks the process into core elements – writes Scott Guthrie.

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Why it’s good business for influencer marketing to embrace disclosure rules

As consumers we don’t like feeling hoodwinked. To obfuscate a commercial arrangement between brand and influencer does far more harm than good to both parties. We won’t buy from brands if we feel duped. We won’t follow influencers if we feel they haven’t been honest with us.

Influencers should be led by the carrot of enlightened self interest rather than be feel hit by the stick of regulation.

Scott Guthrie

Influencer marketing creators and brands stand to gain from proper disclosure – writes Scott Guthrie

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How influencers gain from Instagram’s changes to feed display

Changes at the image and video-sharing platform are only just beginning. Those content creators who can consistently cater to their audiences will be rewarded with high engagement rates.

Scott Guthrie

Instagram influencers will benefit from the platform’s changes by listening to their audiences, knowing what they want and delivering consistent, high-quality content that their audience feels compelled to interact with – writes Scott Guthrie

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Eight Tips for Influencer Marketing Done Well Spin Sucks

Source: Eight Tips for Influencer Marketing Done Well Spin Sucks

Important reminders on using influencer marketing to achieve business objectives by Gini Dietrich.

Resonance over reach & learn to relinquish control.

Influencers are influential because they consistently create compelling content that resonates with a select audience. The content resonates because it’s authentic.

The more you try to control the message via a straight-jacket of a creative brief, re-write requests or pushing for further edits, the more the authentic voice is diminished to a whisper.

Influencers have grown their audiences because their opinions chime with those of their audiences. So, let them speak. Let them speak in their voice. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re working with the most appropriate influencer in the first place.

Ensure you do your digital due diligence. Ensure your chosen influencer(s) adhere to disclosure regulations.

FTC is going to start cracking down on non-conformers. It’s ruling on  Lord & Taylor and with  Xbox & Machinima are just the warm-up acts.

We live in an era where celebrity endorsements aren’t what they once were. The work of the people is more influential when it comes to influencer marketing.

Source: Eight Tips for Influencer Marketing Done Well Spin Sucks

FTC continues its influencer marketing crackdown with Machinima order

Last September, the FTC settled charges against YouTube-based gaming network Machinima over failure to disclose payments to YouTube “influencers” surrounding an Xbox promotion. Today, the agency announced its final consent order in the case.

This marks the second announcement this week in connection with a settlement surrounding native ads that did not carry proper disclosures and thus were considered deceptive by the FTC.

The other involved fashion retailer Lord & Taylor and Instagram influencer marketing.In the Machinima case, the company paid two YouTube gaming personalities between $15,000 and $30,000 to produce videos promoting Xbox One and specific games.

The videos received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. The payments or the promotional nature of the videos were not disclosed to viewers.

Like the Lord & Taylor settlement, the Machinima settlement prohibits the company from doing something similar in the future — paying influencers without corresponding disclosures about the nature of the endorsements. It also requires the company within 90 days to follow up with any payee-influencers to ensure that the required disclosures are made and present.

Source: FTC continues its influencer marketing crackdown with Machinima order

Native Advertising & Sponsored Content: Meeting disclosure rules in the US

Source: Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses | Federal Trade Commission

Marketers and publishers are using innovative methods to create, format, and deliver digital advertising.  One form is “native advertising,” content that bears a similarity to the news, feature articles, product reviews, entertainment, and other material that surrounds it online.

But as native advertising evolves, are consumers able to differentiate advertising from other content?

The Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits deceptive or unfair practices.  It’s the FTC’s job to ensure that long-standing consumer protection principles apply in the digital marketplace, including to native advertising.

The FTC has issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements that explains how the agency applies established truth-in-advertising standards in this context.

This Guide for Businesses supplements the Enforcement Policy Statement by offering informal guidance from FTC staff to help companies apply the Policy Statement in day-to-day contexts in digital media.

The first part of this Guide summarizes the consumer protection principles that serve as the foundation for the Enforcement Policy Statement.

The second part includes examples to explain how effective disclosure can help prevent deception.

The third part features staff guidance on how to make clear and conspicuous disclosures within the format of native advertising.

Of course, this Guide can’t cover every issue associated with native advertising.  Nor does it provide a safe harbor from potential liability under Section 5 of the FTC Act.  These examples are only general guidance for advertisers.

Source: Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses | Federal Trade Commission

Bloggers now to pay tax for “free” goods and services | Marketing Interactive

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has turned its attention to the local blogging community this tax season.

For the first time, the largely unregulated community has received letters from the IRAS stating that all payments and benefits derived from the carrying on of blogging or any other marketing activities performed on social media platforms “constitute gains or profits from a trade or a business under section 10(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act (ITA)”.

“Any benefits whether monetary or in-kind provided to your family and friends will be taxable in your name,” said the note from IRAS.

The rule applies to not only blogging website but social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the likes.

Payments are taxable regardless whether they are received directly from the advertisers, or indirectly through a social media influencer companies.

Source: Bloggers now to pay tax for “free” goods and services | Marketing Interactive