Recently, the FTC revised its guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. Effective on December 1, 2009, bloggers are required to disclose any material connections to brands in the content that they publish. Until today, there was no simple disclosure solution. DigComm (short for the Digital Communications Group), a company that specializes in development of digital communications tools for PR and social media agencies, has developed Cmp.ly, which could be an extremely valuable and easy solution for bloggers, marketers and content providers moving forward.
Comp.ly was launched as a turnkey disclosure solution for bloggers who want to provide full disclosure in their posts. You can review the full news release on Cmp.ly here. Because there was no established disclosure structure that bloggers could rely upon, DigComm responded by creating a series of transparent disclosures that are identified at a quick glance, and can even be communicated within the 140 characters constraints of Twitter.
The six standardized disclosures include:
CMP.ly/0 – No connection, unpaid, my own opinions
CMP.ly/1 – Based upon a review copy
CMP.ly/2 – Given a sample by vendor/agency/brand
CMP.ly/3 – Paid post – cash payment or other compensation
CMP.ly/4 – Employee/shareholder/business relationship
CMP.ly/5 – Custom Disclosure
When I spoke with the Tom Chernaik, Cmp.ly’s co-founder and the founder of DigComm, he explained that the guidelines for Cmp.ly will be clarified in the upcoming weeks, as they receive feedback from users. Cmp.ly will be free for bloggers who will use the solution for the transparent and honest disclosure that is required by the FTC in its revised guidelines.
As for my disclosure, I have worked with Tom Chernaik (@tomdigcomm) in the past, so I guess that might characterize my disclosure as CMP.ly/4, which constitutes a business relationship.
With all of the new technologies and information that we are supposed to learn and embrace and with all of the rules of engagement that we have to follow in the social sphere, an easy solution to disclosure will be welcomed and appreciated by bloggers. Cmp.ly, from what I read, looks like a great option, and a means to keep bloggers, marketers and content providers transparent and fully compliant with the new FTC guidelines.
I remember what Paul Roetzer, PR 20/20 (@paulroetzer) said at the Inbound Marketing Summit during our PR 2.0 panel. To paraphrase his comment, Paul said that there will be always be PR professionals and agencies that naturally do the right thing and show full disclosure. On the other hand, there are those that will never abide by the rules. With a solution like Cmp.ly, it appears that there’s no reason not to comply!
For more information on Cmp.ly you can visit the Cmp.ly website.