Friday, November 06, 2009

Amazon Share on Twitter-- FTC Fail?

So, earlier this week Amazon announced that Associates can now Tweet their associates links to earn money that way. I don't tweet often about what I'm reading or just finished, but occasionally I do, and I could see my editing the standard message and adding in my associate link.

BUT! As we learned at kidlitcon, if you are an Amazon Associate (or any one of the similar programs available) you have to disclose that relationship. Something in your FAQ or on your sidebar isn't enough. You have to disclose in EVERY SINGLE POST, which is why I added the standard language to my blog posts at the very bottom.

So, the way I understand it, you'd have to disclose ON YOUR TWEET that you'll make money off the link.

But how does one fit a link, why you're linking to the product, and a disclosure all in 140 characters? That, I don't know.

So, at kidlitcon, we also learned that the onus is on the company, not the blogger, to guide us bloggers on how to react. Amazon gets a big ol' FAIL for that (from their FAQ):

4. Are there any other issues with the use of affiliate ads and social networks that I need to be aware of?

Yes – the FTC has issued guidelines regarding the use of advertising and social networks which become effective on December 1, 2009. You can review the complete text of these guidelines by following this link (note that it requires Adobe PDF reader):

The Associates program is an advertising service and, as a result, you must follow all applicable laws and regulations regarding this type of advertising, including any FTC guidelines.

That didn't answer anything! How do I follow applicable laws and link to your content in a mere 140 characters?!

Comments I've seen on the web and on Twitter tend to focus on "OMG! More Twitter Spam! That sucks!" But what about those that use responsibly? Can we tweet Amazon links and still disclose? Do you even want to? Should Amazon give more guidance? What do you think?

What are you ideas? Thoughts? Comments?

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1 comment:

Jen Robinson said...

I'm not sure it's possible to do this at all (use Amazon referral Twitter links) without running afoul of the FTC requirements. I did a test post to experiment, but I think I'd be hesitant to do it as a regular thing...