Marketing Q&A – Periscope, Sponsored Posts and The FTC

Apr 8 2015

by Alesya Opelt

Welcome back to my monthly marketing Q&A.  Due to my background, I get lots of questions about marketing online.  What better place to publicly answer them than here – in a group of entrepreneurs?  Let’s chat.


Q.  I just read about Meerkat from you.  Now I’m hearing about Periscope which basically does the same thing.  What gives?  I can’t keep up.

A.  Vin Diesel doesn’t have the market cornered on Fast & Furious.  It also applies to new apps.  Since we last spoke, Twitter has launched it’s own live video app called Periscope.  This was a very fast and direct move to compete with Meerkat who provides the same technology.

In Twitter’s infancy (way back in 2006) they didn’t even support photos.  In fact there were many apps – most notably Charleston’s own TwitPic – who supplied the photo hosting service to users for years.  Since Twitter started supporting photos it’s made all these other applications obsolete.

So now what.  Which app should you use?  Meerkat has the first mover advantage.  But Periscope has the in house advantage.  Download both on your phone to claim your username.  Time will tell who wins, but if I was a betting woman I’d put my money on Periscope.  Hopefully they will buy Meerkat so there’s an upside for all.

Q.  Good LORD.  What’s all the kerfuffle with advertising, bloggers, sponsored Instagram posts, affiliate links and the FTC?  Really, the Federal Trade Commission cares about a blog post?

A. There seems to be a new blogger/advertising scandal every day.  The latest happened just this week with Lord & Taylor.  They had 50 bloggers post the same dress to their Instagram accounts.  The dress sold out.

Awesome, right?  Well not so much.  Not all the bloggers made it clear this was a paid gig.  Which is against FTC regulations.  Now both Lord & Taylor and the bloggers have mud on their faces.  Pretty far from ideal.

Image via The Huffington Post
Image via The Huffington Post

Q.  Now what should I do?  Can I still work with bloggers?  And if I’m a blogger, can I still work with advertisers?

A. Influencer marketing is still winding it’s way through regulation.  A lot of it is a gray area.  But if you want to stay firmly on the good side of the government, your clients and your readers there’s one thing you can do:  Make it painfully clear when you are sponsoring a post in any way.  Be over the top with it.  No one likes being tricked or mislead.  And this goes double for Uncle Sam.

On a personal note – I find it refreshing when a blogger comes right out and says “Hey, so and so sent me this.  But I still think it’s pretty rad.  I thought you would too.”  In fact the transparency makes it more likely that I will purchase said item.  I bet you feel the same way.  Smart consumers like straight talk.   Well, straight talk and a stiff drink.  On that note I’ll see you next month.  Cheers!


If you have marketing questions, feel free to throw them my way.  You can reach me on Twitter – @Alesya.


Alesya Opelt View More Blog Posts from this Author

I know some women only work because they have to, but I’d actually flip that around and say that I have to work. Because I truly love it. Work is simply my favorite thing. In fact, I’ve been working since I was 14, obsessed with the idea of getting something important done.

My first job was as a page at the Adrian Public Library in Michigan. After college, I started my career at a search engine company in Silicon Valley. I moved to London for a time, and ultimately became VP of Marketing for a technology company.

Based on what I’ve told you, it may be no surprise that my favorite shows are Shark Tank and The Profit. It’s my Appointment Television

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