Failure to Comply With FTC Rules Could Put Some on Wrong Side of Law

A lot of the buzz that has turned the South by Southwest festival into a media monster has been paid for and delivered by the big brands that sponsor it.

SXSW in Austin is one of the biggest conferences of the year for techies, filmmakers and musicians. Even the part of the conference known as SXSW Interactive — previously geared at tech geeks and internet junkies — is now a major mainstream production, with sponsors such as Miller Lite, Chevrolet and PepsiCo. And while there are plenty of old-school journalists there to cover the buzz, there are any number of bloggers sent specifically by corporate sponsors to help build buzz.

Attending SXSW is expensive. And this is where the brands come in — they have the cash and want coverage of whatever it is they’re doing. After all, if it isn’t blogged, Facebooked or tweeted, then it didn’t happen.

Ethical, professional and legal considerations come into play when there is an exchange of buzz for money, and could even hurt the credibility of some bloggers who want to be taken seriously. And then there is the matter of disclosure…

Read the entire article at AdAge.

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