Snakes on the Brain

I’m in DC today at the WOMMA confab where I sat on a panel that explored whether bloggers are journalists, and whether they should be accorded comparable press creds, as such. The short answer: some yes, some no.

On a different, but most buzzworthy topic here today, I’m trying to reconcile the coverage of yesterday’s FTC ruling, which appears to condone the duplicitous, yet popular practice by some “word of mouth” marketers, e.g., those who are payed-to-post or payed-to-promote.

I’m sure WOMMA doesn’t care much for seeing the term “word-of-mouth” used to define the non-disclosure crowd.

The dueling headlines in Ad Age and the Washington Post didn’t clarify. From Ad Age:

“FTC Rejects Call for Probe Into Word-of-Mouth Practices, Could Lead to Increased Spending in Already Controversial Marketing Tactic”

From the Post:

“FTC Moves to Unmask Word of Mouth Marketing, Endorser Must Disclose Link to Seller”

To disclose or not to disclose, that is the question. Maybe the staff opinion from the FTC itself will shed light. And then there’s the release from Commercial Alert, the organization that brought the suit in the first place. Its headline:

“FTC Gives ‘Giant Christmas Present’ to P&G, Word of Mouth Marketing Industry”

Who’d a thunk that WOMMA’s values could be so aligned with those of Commercial Alert?