Transparency is not the solution.

A new BusinessWeek article Blogola: The FTC Takes On Paid Posts describes how new Federal Trade Commission guidelines want bloggers to disclose when they’ve been wooed with cash or freebies from companies they cover. Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff researched this topic, which Forrester calls “sponsored conversations,” and recommended the practice for marketers with a focus on transparency and authenticity.

However, transparency is only the solution if marketers are misusing the medium.

Still living in an old world mentality, marketers are now pushing their marketing messages through a paid medium called bloggers instead of TV. Yes, they get some credit for trying and risking the potentially negative feedback from an authentic blogger, but basically these marketers are buying reach in a new channel.

Instead of optimizing their sponsored conversations for transparency and reach, marketers should leverage interactive and social technologies to interact with engaged users and bring them closer to the brand before misuse jades consumers and limits the effectiveness for all marketers.


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