The Securities and Exchange Commission now officially recognizes public information sharing on corporate websites and online information sharing sites. In a landmark announcement, the SEC now allow disclosure of financial information through corporate blogs.
how companies can use their web sites to provide information to investors in compliance with the federal securities laws, particularly with respect to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
the release addresses antifraud issues that may arise when issuers, their officers, and employees speak on company-sponsored blogs or electronic shareholder forums. In particular, it provides guidance for companies hosting or participating in blogs or electronic shareholder forums about the applicability of the antifraud provisions to statements made by the company or by a person acting on behalf of the company. It also highlights the restrictions on a company’s ability to require investors to waive protections under the federal securities laws as a condition to entering or participating in a blog or forum.
Corporations are no longer bound to traditional media and distribution channels in order to satisfy full disclosure requirements. In the past, disclosure filings were sent through wire services which may charge over $1000 per filing, causing undue financial strain on smaller businesses and reducing the amount of company information available to the general public.
SEO’s are licking their chops in anticipation of being able to sell search engine optimization to corporations as a value added service to replace the bland, expensive, obfuscated wire releases. A good SEO will be able to create a press release that is interesting, useful and most importantly linked to.
Imagine a crafty SEO promoting disclosure requirements on a major social networking site such as Digg.com. In a huge win-win, the SEC regulations are met, the company gets huge immediate exposure, and the benefit of lots of long term backlinks.
Brian Solis wrote a book on the new SEC disclosure regulations in his Tech Crunch blog post. Hopefully most corporations will blog with streamlined information and add a bit of humor and personality to their new personal PR websites.