Top 10 blog topics of 2014

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Years ago, a TV network repackaged the summer rerun season with the brilliant tagline, “If you haven't seen it, it's new to you!” Going through this year’s Business Blog posts, we spotted the 10 most-read topics of 2014. Others in your industry are up on the latest. Are you?

Listed alphabetically, here's what business people were reading.

Advertising disclosures.  If the disclosure of information is necessary to prevent deception, it has to be clear and conspicuous. That was the message of Operation Full Disclosure, which involved staff warnings letters sent to more than 60 national advertisers.

Billing.  Multimillion dollar settlements with companies for their role in mobile cramming underscore the importance of getting customers’ express consent before billing. Have you read AT&T gets $105 million wake-up call about mobile cramming and Spotting the signs of a crampage: Lessons from the FTC’s proposed settlement with T-Mobile? Blog posts about settlements with Apple and Google and ongoing litigation against Amazon focus on kids and billing for in-app purchases.

Children’s privacy.  Recent law enforcement actions remind companies that COPPA applies both to operators of websites, services, and apps directed to children under 13 and to general audience sites, services, and apps with actual knowledge they’re collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from kids in that age group. Find out more by reading Big COPPA problems for TinyCo and FTC case against Yelp shows that COPPA isn’t just for kids’ sites. A recent staff warning letter merits your attention, too.

Credit reporting.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act celebrated its 44th birthday, but it’s hardly middle-aged. FCRA is part of the ongoing Big Data discussion. For perspectives on the conversation, read Who’s mining the store? 9 top takeaways, legislative recommendations, and some straight talk for industry from the FTC’s data broker report. Looking for guidance on using background checks in the employment process? The FTC and EEOC joined forces to issue a new publication.

Data security.  The FTC announced its 50th data security settlement in January and there’s more where that came from. Default lines: How the FTC says Credit Karma and Fandango SSLighted security settings offers tips for companies making the move to mobile. If you're a business executive concerned about the security of your own device, don't hit “download” until you've read 7 things to consider before using that app.

Debt.  Debt collection law enforcement remains a high-profile topic and Debt collection double feature focuses on two examples. An emerging issue is the intersection of debt, data security, and consumer privacy. What are the legal implications? Read Buying or selling debts? 7 steps for keeping data secure and A Loan again to find out more.

Endorsements and seals.  As the FTC Endorsement Guides explain, material connections between endorsers and marketers must be clearly disclosed. Two relevant posts: FTC settlement with ADT sounds alarm about deceptive use of paid endorsers and All about the tout: Takeaway tips from the FTC’s Sony-Deutsch settlements. The use of certifications also attracted attention in 2014. Two posts explored that issue – The FTC's TRUSTe case: When seals help seal the deal and Keep your Made in USA claims red, white, and true.

Negative options.  Bogus “free” offers and poorly disclosed negative options are easy ways to arouse consumer ire and law enforcement interest.  Check out blog posts about “free” credit scores that turned out not to be free and the FTC’s first case filed under ROSCA, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act.

Substantiation.  If your ads focus on subjective claims, substantiation usually isn’t an issue. But objective claims require appropriate support. For example, when companies say their representations are backed by a particular kind of proof, they need to live up to that promise. FTC to L’Oréal: Scientific claims need proof that’s more than just skin deep offer insights for industry members.

Telemarketing.  One thing didn’t change in 2014. Consumers still get riled when companies place illegal telemarketing calls. In addition to Do Not Call enforcement, the FTC continued its efforts against Rachel and her robocalling friends by going DEF CON.

Thanks for your comments in 2014. What topics would you like to hear more about in 2015? Consider starting the year off with a reminder to your colleagues to subscribe to the Business Blog.


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