If you have a blog or website where you publish product reviews, you’ll be interested in this. Here at Rev2, we obviously do reviews and so the new FTC rules will apply to us. Those rules, under the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, material connections to the products mentioned have to be disclosed. Here at Rev2, of course, we do not receive compensation for the apps and websites we review, but we’ll still be subject to the new FTC regs.
This new service, CMP.ly, hopes to help site owners have a standard for disclosure so that reviewers aren’t giving mixed messages to their readers. After all, is a review where the product was received free of charge in order to review it a “paid” review? Do you need to disclose that you got a freebie to do it? What if you own stock in the company that makes that product or app? Do you disclose that?
CMP.ly puts up some pretty simple rules, numbered 1-5, that give those kinds of disclosures. You then just grab the code they provide or copy the image with the information in it and use it in your reviews.
0 = No connection, unpaid, entirely the writer’s opinions.
1 = Based upon a review copy (freebie was given for review purposes, to be returned later).
2 = Given a sample by vendor/agency/brand (similar to freebie, but given as a keeper).
3 = Paid post with cash or other compensation (including cross posting) given.
4 = Writer is employee, shareholder, or has another business relationship involved in review.
5 = A custom disclosure which will be available from CMP.ly later for case-by-case use.
Those are pretty straight forward. A graphic can be used (see below) or a simple link to the graphic’s information can be added to the review in question. Since the links are so short (merely http://cmp.ly/0, for example), they can be easily tweeted as well.
Very cool and definitely worth trying (it’s free). A good beginning to standardization for disclosure.
CMP.ly was introduced by Tom Chernaik and Kris Smith and its parent company is DigComm. Chernaik’s background is in integrating music with technology and entertainment law. Smith’s background is technology and he has been a part of several startups, including TechStartups.com.