Today the Washington Post published an interesting article stating that the “companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.” Does that mean that we are going to see a significant reduction in splogs and aggressive street marketing schemes? I doubt it. Have you witnessed a reduction in pharmaceutical commercials as a result of the long disclaimers that they have to place at the end of their commercials? Nope.
While this will be a burden to the new wave of guerrilla marketing companies, I seriously doubt that it will prevent this type of marketing completely. Although it will be interesting to see how the FTC plans on monitoring and regulating violations of the new policy. Are there going to be marketing police in online chat rooms (there are marketing companies that pay teenagers to promote products to other teens in the chat rooms), or in the streets of New York (in reference to Sony Ericsson’s “Fake Tourist” campaign)? While some guerrilla marketing programs will continue to exist, I think it will be difficult for programs like Pay Per Post to continue their business. Instead splogs will be forced to go back underground (similar to PR firms that use digg marketing techniques) rather than publicly promoting deceptive marketing.