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Business Blog

Truth in app-vertising

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Here’s how AcneApp and Acne Pwner were supposed to work. Buyers downloaded the apps from their favorite app store. After selecting a light — blue to fight bacteria or red to heal, some ads said — they...
Business Blog

Relief pitching?

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“You can settle your credit card debt for pennies on the dollar without filing for bankruptcy.” For people struggling to stay afloat, Debt Relief USA’s national TV ads must have seemed like a lifeline...
Business Blog

FTC announces first mobile app case

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There are some combinations that raise immediate compliance issues for responsible businesses — and kids’ privacy and mobile applications are among them. A settlement announced by the FTC — the agency...
Business Blog

Swish Marketing decision nets consumers $4.8 million

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Thinking about using a pre-checked box to obligate buyers in an online transaction? Maybe you’re considering a negative option arrangement without clearly and conspicuously disclosing the details of...
Business Blog

$108 million for homeowners in distress

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Homeowners in financial trouble aren’t getting a lot of great news these days. But 450,177 of them will be getting a check in the mail that represents their share of the FTC’s $108 million settlement...
Business Blog

Candid spamera

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Say “spam” and most business executives think of annoying messages that litter their IN box. But the CAN-SPAM Act and the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Rule cover a much broader range of commercial email. Yes, that...
Business Blog

Thigh maintenance

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A skin cream that can reduce body size. Are historians sure that wasn’t what Ponce de Leon was seeking? It’s certainly what buyers are looking for, if ads are any indication. But claims like that have...
Business Blog

Double duty?

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Sometimes it’s great to put stuff to more than one use. Think the versatile Swiss Army knife, the iconic Little Black Dress, or the typical elementary school “cafetorium” where kids can eat lunch...
Business Blog

Around the world in shady ways

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Yes, it’s a global marketplace, but geography still matters. Misrepresentations about where a company is based can have significant implications for buyers. That’s the message of an FTC settlement...
Business Blog

Free means free, says the FTC

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You can swim freestyle. You can work freelance. And there are those among us who still hold up lighters and yell “Play Free Bird.” But for marketers, one thing you can’t do is advertise a product as...
Business Blog

Looking out for unauthorized access

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With a corporate name like Lookout, it pays to — well — look out. Unfortunately, according to the FTC’s complaint against Lookout Services, Inc., the company’s questionable security practices left the...
Business Blog

Nitro in the trunk?

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The French movie classic “The Wages of Fear” — remade in 1977 as “The Sorcerer” by American director William Friedkin — was a taut thriller about a team of toughs transporting a payload of volatile...
Business Blog

Won't get fauxed again

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If you haven’t seen the ads, you’ve probably been too busy listening to eight-tracks and playing Pong because billions — with a capital B — have been served up online. They look like news...
Business Blog

Cleaning up ad claims

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Science, studies, and statistics. There’s a reason advertisers feature them so prominently. When used accurately, they can be powerful tools for distinguishing your product from the competitors. But...
Business Blog

The FTC's settlement with Google: Part 4

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Business practices at odds with promises in the company’s privacy policy. The failure to disclose adequately that the contacts with whom users emailed and chatted the most would become public by...
Business Blog

The FTC's settlement with Google: Part 3

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As any business knows, it is indeed a small world after all. And the FTC’s recent settlement with Google related to the launch of its Google Buzz social network demonstrates why it’s important for...
Business Blog

The FTC’s settlement with Google: Part 2

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According to the FTC’s recent settlement with Google, when people declined to sign up for Google Buzz, the company’s new social network, Google nonetheless enrolled them in certain features without...
Business Blog

The FTC's Google settlement: What's the buzz?

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“Sweet! Check out Buzz.” “Nah, go to my inbox.” That was the intriguing choice facing Gmail users last year when Google launched Google Buzz, its social network. But according to a settlement...
Business Blog

Debt collection company pays record-setting civil penalty

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Incessant phone calls to consumers, often about accounts that weren't theirs. Repeated autocalls to wrong numbers. Illegal disclosures to other people that a consumer owes money. Those are just some...