Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing

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Shopping in a Winter Wonderland

These days more and more holiday shoppers will be decking the halls by ducking the malls.  According to some reports, Cyber Monday has eclipsed Black Friday as the day when the going gets tough – and the tough go online shopping.

That’s great news for Internet retailers, but only if they’re up to speed on the FTC’s Mail Order Rule, which also applies to online sales. So now’s the time for businesses to make a list and check it twice to ensure Mail Order Rule compliance.

Tales From the Unencrypted

Does your business have a wireless network?  Do you or your employees ever use wifi to catch up on work from home?  Think about all the data that could be transmitted over your wireless network – credit card numbers, bank account information, business secrets.  You probably don’t want to share that information with everyone who passes through your neighborhood.  But that’s what you’re doing if you don’t use strong encryption and take other steps to secure your home network.  Someone nearby could “piggyback” on your network, or even access the information on your computer.

"Liability? Shmiability. We're just processing payments."

Short-sighted thinking like that has landed a lot of businesses in hot water with law enforcers.  They forget that the reach of federal and state consumer protection statutes can be expansive.  Under appropriate circumstances, payment processors – as well businesses handling ad copy, telemarketing, fulfillment, and a host of other functions – may be liable for the role they play in another company’s deceptive or unfair practices.

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds $48 Million Judgment

For people with an ailment, Direct Marketing Concepts and ITV Direct had the answer: Coral Calcium or Supreme Greens. But according to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the companies, their corporate officers, and related entities lacked scientific proof for claims that their products could cure or prevent diseases like cancer, arthritis, lupus, Parkinson’s, and MS. The upshot?

New Compliance Resources for the Debt Relief Industry

The last thing people struggling to keep their heads above perilous financial waters need is an anchor weighing them down. That's why, as of today, businesses must comply with all provisions of new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule designed to curb deception in the sale of debt relief services.

Most importantly, companies that use outbound telemarketing -- or have customers call them in response to ads or other solicitations -- can’t collect fees from customers until:


• they successfully settle or change the terms of at least one of their debts;

On the Road Again

This is National Chemistry Week. It’s also National School Bus Week. And be sure to wish members of Team Jacob a happy National Wolf Awareness Week. But for most business travelers, the annual observance that really hits home – or the road – is National Protect Your Identity Week, October 17th through 23rd.

NetCetera Community Outreach Toolkit

Maybe you work in the tech sector.  Perhaps your firm has clients with a big internet presence.  Or maybe you're responsible for paying attention to how your family uses the computer.  That's why you'll want to know about the Net Cetera Community Outreach Toolkit, a free resource just released by OnGuardOnline.gov.

Ever Green

Today, the FTC is releasing proposed changes to its Green Guides.  For years, the Green Guides have offered practical steps businesses can take to make sure that claims for a product’s environmental qualities aren’t misleading.

Our Green Guides have been under review for the last few years in an effort to make sure that they are appropriate for a changing marketplace. As part of the review process, the agency sought comments from the public, hosted public workshops, and conducted its own consumer perception study.  The changes the Commission is proposing include guidance on:

Miracle on 36th Street

In the holiday classic "Miracle on 34th Street," optimists and skeptics debated the existence of Kris Kringle. Nobody would liken effective advertising self-regulation to Santa Claus, but the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) – located on 36th Street in New York – has made believers out of a lot of people. Kicking off its annual conference today, the NAD is a forum for monitoring and evaluating truth and accuracy in national advertising.

UN-surance

Many smaller companies want to extend health benefits to employees, but are concerned about keeping the price affordable.  For people who own their own business or are looking for work, cost-effective coverage can be tough to find.  If you’re in the market for health insurance, make sure that’s what you’re buying.  Some programs pitched to small businesses, the self-employed, and the uninsured sound like affordable health insurance, but actually are medical discount plans.  Although some plans may offer legitimate savings, others take people’s money and provide very little in return.

Admongo

You fought off a hostile takeover and went toe to toe with the most aggressive competitor in the business. But now you’re facing the toughest crowd of all: a classroom of fifth graders at the local elementary school’s Career Day.  No need to be frozen with fear when Admongo – an online videogame that educates kids about advertising – is just a click away.

The Dupe of URL

No, not the doowop song by Gene Chandler, but a form of fraud aimed at small businesses and non-profits. Here’s how the scam works: Con artists send fake invoices to businesses, listing the domain name or URL of the company’s website or a slight variation – like substituting ".org" for ".com." The bills, designed to look like they come from a domain name registrar, say the company owes money for its annual "website address listing" and "search optimization" service. Busy entrepreneurs are led to believe they have to pay to keep the company URL up and running.

Full Disclosure

The FTC’s first law enforcement action related to the revised Endorsement Guides offers compliance insights for marketers.  In a proposed settlement with Reverb Communications, Inc., the FTC alleged that employees of a public relations agency hired by game developers posed as consumers and posted reviews on Apple’s iTunes store without disclosing that the reviews came from people working on behalf of the developers.

BCP Business Center: Your Link to the Law

Welcome to the BCP Business Center:  Your Link to the Law.  Explore and you’ll find practical compliance guidance on advertising, telemarketing, credit, data security, and other need-to-know topics for business owners and marketing professionals.  What else will you find?  The latest word on upcoming workshops, hot-off-the-presses staff reports, and new compliance videos.  We’ll do our best to keep things to the point with a minimum of ho-hum, a maximum of how-to, and as little yadda yadda yadda as a legal website can manage. 

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