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Posts Tagged ‘Tracie Snitker’

FTC Dispute ‘Was a Frivolous Matter’ Says Reverb’s Snitker

The New York Times covers the Federal Trade Commission settlement announced yesterday with PR and marketing firm Reverb Communications over favorable iTunes reviews that appeared to be posted by regular consumers but were actually written by paid employees.

In the story, a statement from Reverb exec Tracie Snitker is quoted:

Rather than continuing to spend time and money arguing and laying off employees to fight what we believed was a frivolous matter, we settled this case and ended the discussion.”

The case was the first handled under a set of guidelines introduced last year for Internet endorsements, the story reads. A Harvard Law School professor, Jonathan Zittrain, says the case shows that the guidelines are meant to address the “professional endorser” rather than an “individual blogger or Twitterer.”

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PR Firm Settling FTC Charges of Misleading Endorsements

PR and marketing firm Reverb Communications will settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission stating that the firm posted reviews for a client on the iTunes store without disclosing that they were written by paid employees. In addition to citing Reverb, the FTC also singled out the firm’s owner Tracie Snitker. Reverb and Snitker are ordered to remove misleading endorsements and they’re barred from making further endorsements without proper disclosure.

“Companies, including public relations firms involved in online marketing need to abide by long-held principles of truth in advertising,” said Mary Engle, director of the FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices in the release detailing the settlement.

The FTC voted in favor of this settlement unanimously.

Tom Chernaik, founder of CMP.ly, which provides advertisers and bloggers with disclosure solutions, said the Reverb situation “reaffirms everything that the FTC has said to date” about the need for companies to be transparent.

“Fake reviews are obviously a large concern and the FTC has made it clear that paid reviews have to be disclosed,” he told PRNewser. “Both advertisers and their agencies are specifically responsible for proper disclosure. But in this case they didn’t even name the advertiser in the investigation.”