Years ago, Overclock.net implemented a program in which we lifted our longtime ban on sponsored content being posted within the community. This program allowed for sponsored content (content with a commercial influence, either via direct financial contributions from a third party or contributions of hardware, etc) to be posted in the community with a special tag for a nominal fee. The fee was deliberately small in order to keep the program accessible, and was present because we believed we were up against a matter of principle - sponsored content inherently has commercial purpose, and it felt wrong to us to allow sponsored content to be posted in the community without a financial penalty to emphasize that, yes, sponsored content is advertising. This was not our most successful content policy. The program was controversial from the start, and despite our efforts to reduce the fee and encourage members to explain our position to the brands who were sponsoring them, remained controversial throughout its lifetime.
Quite simply, the policy we created as a compromise between our principles as community leaders and our community members' desires to share sponsored content was not successful. We created a compromise which penalized content creators for a very common (and now, widely accepted) industry practice, and this has not been good for anyone involved.
As a result, we are retiring our sponsored content fee program. This change means the following:
- Sponsored content can now be posted in the community without any fee
- Sponsored content must still be tagged as [Sponsored] in the thread title, and must still be posted within special "Sponsored" forum areas in order to remain compliant with the FTC's Disclosure Guidelines
- Sponsored content which is posted outside of the designated areas, or in which the content creator failed to disclose the sponsored / commercial relationship of their content, will be aggressively removed
Members who paid a sponsored content fee after July 1, 2016 can contact us for a refund of their sponsored content fee. Members who paid prior to July 1, 2016 cannot be refunded, but may contact us for additional advertising for your sponsored content.
The FTC maintains a detailed FAQ about sponsorship and product promotion on the internet here: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking
The advertising landscape of the last few years has made it abundantly clear that sponsorship and "native" advertising is here to stay, and the industry is only moving further in this direction with each passing year. We will continue to be vigilant in our pursuit of crystal-clear identification of the various commercial interests behind a content contribution, and encourage everyone to read the FTC's great guidelines for how to responsibly disclose your commercial relationships with the brands who support you.
Our hope is that by making this revision to our policies we avoid penalizing the most talented members of the overclocking, case modding, and hardware review communities at large; and ensure that Overclock.net can be your trustworthy and bias-free destination for discussion of the best content on the internet, whether sponsored or not.