Posted by Lizzie Pine
Many people keep trying new ways to make money off of social media, blogs and anything they can think up online. Most people know they aren’t going to make the next Facebook, so if there are easier ways to score a few bucks off the Web, they want to know how.
Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley wants to give his users kickbacks. A kickback is money given to someone who referred a product. It’s a paid form of word-of-mouth marketing, where advertisers pay a social media user to get their followers to buy certain products.
But there’s a glitch.
The Internet is constantly growing and changing. No one can predict exactly what will pop up next, or how to best use it. It’s a place for experiments.
Not surprisingly, the law doesn’t know how to deal with it either. So far, the FTC is following the guideline of “Don’t mislead consumers,” according to CNNmoney.com.
Normally, for blogs and the like, the user adds a disclaimer to the endorsing post that says it is a paid advertisement in the blog. This becomes difficult with the short posts of Twitter and Foursquare.
Symbols such as “#paid” or “$” might be a solution to this problem, but it still might not be legal.
If the FTC isn’t going to clearly make rules defining payments of social media, then it’s up to media to see how far they can go before they cross the line. They might get punished for it, but they won’t see any rewards without trying.
What’s best: asking for permission, or asking for forgiveness?