Are Your Online Marketing Efforts Breaking the Law?

    May 6, 2009
    Chris Crum

Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz has a fascinating (and probably startling to some) post up discussing some new guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding online marketing. The post stems from SEOmoz’s COO Sarah Bird, who is an expert on legal matters pertaining to marketing, and some things she revealed in a recent interview. WebProNews readers will recognize her from these WPN videos on various legal topics.

Sarah Bird

I will not regurgitate Fishkin’s post here, but if you’re concerned about laws pertaining to disclosure of paid endorsements, it’s a must-read. He does offer the following takeaways to sum it up:

1. Most social media marketing is legal without disclosure.

2. Link builders don’t have to disclose their relationships.

3. Google & the FTC have very different requirements about paid links.

4.  Linkbait, viral content and microsites don’t require disclosure (most of the time).

In the online marketing world, does not always cross our minds that there are legal boundaries that are being stepped on or even crossed in some cases. For the protection of your business, it is really an important thing to make sure you are abiding by federal regulations. These are only US guidelines though, so if you live in a different country, you will probably want to do some digging of your own to find out what the regulations are in your own government.

Read the FTC’s guidelines here.