BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

When you must comply ...

About a year or so back, when they started making noise about bloggers having to follow some really picky rules or be in danger of getting on the wrong side of the FTC, I had an idea that it would be great if there was some icon we could use to put in a blog post to, for instance, show that we got a book for free to review ... rather than having to cover that fact in the text. While I'd messed around with some concepts of how this could work, other folks went out and made this happen (albeit, a bit more comprehensively than what I was thinking of).

The chart over there ===> is the list of badges that the folks at CMP.LY have come up with, providing a whole spectrum of the sorts of things that one should be communicating in one's blog. For instance, in yesterday's post (about the book Six Tires, No Plan), I'd be wanting to exhibit both badge 1 and badge 5, since I'd gotten a free review copy of the book, and I had an affiliate link (although non-functioning since Amazon and the State of Illinois have had their little stand-off) in the post.

I was excited this evening to have a chance to hear Ruth Wagner of CMP.LY do a presentation on the program. It sounds like they are working very closely with the governmental regulatory agencies to set up a system that is pretty much "iron clad" for keeping bloggers (and whatever commercial partners they may have) on the right side of the evolving laws. They seem to be trying to set up something that will be able to cover all the bases, from the general "blogger activity" stuff (the orange badges) to things dealing with particular industries, and even one they're working on (she had a slide for a somewhat expanded list of badges) for political posts (do you think I could get somebody to pay me to post political rants???).

One point that Wagner kept returning to was that the Feds were not going to be going after individual bloggers, but were keeping a close eye on companies, ad agencies, and promotional services which might be trying to "astroturf" a social media response by surreptitiously paying for bloggers, Tweeters, Facebookers, and Pinteresters to push products, etc. Frankly, I'm not necessarily buying that (trust the government? ... ME?), but I suppose that works well with their funding model: while CMP.LY is free for an individual to use, it's a subscription service for companies, organizations, etc.

As I may have mentioned previously, I'm working on moving my book review blog (currently at over to a WordPress platform so that I can make it fancier and set up functional affiliate links. This is one of the reasons that I've been so interested in this service. I actually signed up with CMP.LY this weekend, but I've not done anything with it as yet. You may, however, start seeing those little badges appearing in posts here in the not-too-distant future (Wagner also noted that there hadn't been any ruling passed down yet on where these would have to appear ... I was thinking that I'd just drop them in at the end of a post, but they may be required to be up top).

They've also covered things like Twitter and YouTube (where you can't add on a graphic element) with a "" URL which would be coded with the category and a unique identifier (the one I saw was a total of 15 characters, so with a lead space that would leave 124 characters if one was putting the code into a Tweet). Anyway, I found all this interesting, and figured I'd pass it along.

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