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Regulations may be coming for paid social media advertising from the FTC

gavel-1Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wagged its finger at more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies over their use of paid search advertising. In one day, the agency sent an unheard-of 14 warning letters to pharmaceutical companies regarding their use of search ads on behalf of more than 40 drugs. The list of brands mentioned included such top sellers as Lexapro (an antidepressant) and Plavix (a blood thinner). GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, and Eli Lilly were among those to receive letters.  While these warning letters were more an attempt for the FDA to reign control of marketers, the FDA stopped short of providing any guidance.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to regulate online social marketing. Yes, that includes blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social networking.

In short the FTC proposes that bloggers and sit owners may be held liable for any false claims made about products or services.  While the FTC may focus on 3rd party endorsements, it will benefit all marketers to make sure any claims fit the typical results your users and customers will find. 

The common trend we will see is that the online marketing space will be enforced by the same standards for print media.

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