FTC Targets Fake And Incentivized Reviews

Glassdoor is a trusted review site for employers that are usually accessed by individuals who want honest, credible inside information on salaries, benefits and workplace environment before they submit an application for a vacant position. Anonymous employees have posted King Kong marketing reviews on the website to encourage tech talents who are seeking for a fulfilling job and to generate brand awareness for the company.

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) review is targeting the use of fake or incentivized reviews. The commission is encouraging consumers to comment on whether free and discounted products have influenced them to leave reviews. FTC requires disclosure on how affiliate links are handled and whether advertisers or review sites have posted warnings regarding incentivized reviews.

According to a statement released by FTC’s Rohit Chopra, undisclosed influencer marketing posts on social media platforms could result to financial penalties. Companies that launder advertising usually pay an influencer to pretend that the endorsement or review is untainted by any financial relationship. This is called illegal payola.

FTC wants to determine if new requirements for social media platforms and advertisers will be created and whether civil penalty liability will be activated. Under the non-binding Endorsement Guides, if there is a connection between the endorser and the seller of an advertised product, such connection must be disclosed. In social media, creators have to note that the post is part of paid advertisement, sponsored content or paid partnership.

Chopra has made department store Lord Taylor as an example of weak enforcement. FTC did not insist that the posts of the 50 paid influencers were not sponsored. This is different from Instagram posts where marketers pay the posts of influencers and tag the brands as ads. Social media platforms and advertisers are profiting from undisclosed influencer marketing. This is harmful to small honest businesses that want to compete fairly.

People usually trust King Kong marketing reviews because they are not posted by influencers but the company’s current employees. When the company responds to both positive and negative reviews, it emphasizes the authenticity of the brand. Meanwhile, employees are satisfied that their comments are heard by the employer.

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