Bing Vs. Google isn’t Ali-Frazier just yet. I know Google is still Google, but marketers need to pay more attention to Bing. The Microsoft search engine just completed a deal to make Tweets and Facebook status updated part of its results.

We’re not saying that Bing is replacing Google, just that the upstart (if we can actually call anything from Microsoft “upstart”) is gaining momentum.  If you want to compare the two, visit Bing Vs. Google for side-by-side comparisons.  In a cursory search, I liked the first SERP from Bing.  But… Google found newer, more relevant stuff overall.

If you want to geek out on the Bing Vs. Google comparison, check out the Search Engine Smack Down by PC World.  But no matter what you choose, keep an eye on Bing for now.

As readers of this blog know, Cercone Brown is deep into online marketing and social media.  As a communications firm with a large PR component, we’d better be these days.  Now our work is being recognized on a national stage.  Cercone Brown & Co. Named Finalist for “Best Online Marketing Campaign for 2009” for the PR Platinum Awards.

The firm was selected from from 800 submissions for its “America’s Least Wasteful Cities” Campaign for bottle-maker Nalgene.  We’re off to NYC for the luncheon this morning.

We’ll write more about the campaign, how and why it worked, and lessons learned.  For now, keep your fingers crossed.  There’s a quick case study posted here, which we’ll change into an easier to use flash version this week.  Also, check out the release we’re issuing this morning…

Boston, Mass. (October 21, 2009) — Blending social media marketing, interactive design, and press relations has become a hallmark of Boston advertising and PR firm Cercone Brown & Co., helping brands such as GMAC Insurance, adidas, Quiksilver and others build campaigns that drive awareness, sales leads and ROI.

Now the firm is being recognized as one of the nation’s best as a finalist for the prestigious Platinum PR Awards for Best Online Campaign for 2009 for its “America’s Least Wasteful Cities” work for reusable bottle icon Nalgene.

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Yesterday, the FTC announced new guidelines that could have a huge impact between PR pros and bloggers.

In short, there’s two parts to watch: First is disclosure regarding advertisements, endorsements, paid endorsements, paid-in-kind endorsements, etc. The second is about accuracy of bloggers’ claims.

While the social media universe is all abuzz today, from a PR professional’s perspective these guidelines fundamentally change nothing.  You may not realize it, but we’ve always been liable on these fronts.  It’s just that most have been oblivious to the laws.  (Remember, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.)

All along when pitching bloggers (or any press, really) AND providing free product or services for review, we have been required to tell them in writing to disclose that they, in fact, received freebies.  Also, if these folks may inaccurate claims based on a pitch (even if we didn’t give them the inaccurate info.), we are responsible.

So instead of complaining about it, here’s what you should consider.  BUT, like anything else, this is my opinion based on my knowledge of the law.  You must consult your own legal counsel before creating your own policies and actions regarding social media (hows that?):

1. Create a standard disclosure statement regarding free product and the like and make it part of all your email communications.  I’m not sure if the mouse print thing is considered enough here, but it seems it should suffice.  Again, I’ll talk to our legal folks and follow up…but the point is, make it part of your standard communication, and not some last minute awkward…”Oh, hey, don’t forget to tell everyone I gave you this for free.”

2. Get a REAL social media monitoring system. I’m not talking Google alerts, guys.  You need a system like Radian6 with a dedicated staffer to monitor ALL the chatter across blogs, forums and social networks (there’s MANY more than Facebook, BTW.)  Get this alerts in real-time, and set the record straight immediately.

There were about 250 great business reasons to do this before, but maybe this is the one that gets companies to take monitoring and reporting seriously. It’s not an intern job!  Social media marketing is moving faster than most even know, and now the legal system is catching up.  If you haven’t already, you should do the same.