Here’s a riddle. What five-letter word can mean a try-out, a source of vexation, and a legal proceeding?
Blog Posts Tagged with Online Advertising and Marketing
TVs, textiles, appliances, and spam. That may sound like an eclectic shopping list at a big box retailer, but they’re clues to an FTC development you and your clients should know about.
They’re all categories affected by four rules the FTC is putting under the regulatory microscope: the Picture Tube Rule, the Textile Rules, the Energy Labeling Rule, and the CAN-SPAM Rule.
Consumers rely on independent reviews and recommendations in deciding what to buy. That’s why the FTC wasn’t jumping for joy to learn that marketers of trampolines were touting their products through the use of misleading review websites and deceptive endorsements.
The FTC’s law enforcement action against Amazon for unauthorized billing recently settled, leaving two key takeaways: 1) Consumers are eligible for more than $70 million in refunds; and 2) Businesses need to get customers’ express consent before placing charges on their credit or debit cards.
Does the thought of losing everything on your computer leave you queasy?
If Instagram is the home of Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday, #IGers should think of today as Word to the Wise Wednesday.
It used to be a rite of passage: spending the night in a line outside the box office to score tickets to the Stones, Springsteen, or [insert your favorite group here]. The convenience of internet ticket sales ended the sleeping-on-the-sidewalk ritual. But online ticket sales raised another concern: Were prospective buyers losing out to computer programs that scooped up the best seats only to resell them at inflated prices?
When websites prominently advertised “FREE!” golf balls and other gear, duffers and low-handicappers alike swung for the deal. But according to the FTC, 10 related defendants drove consumers into the rough with poorly disclosed terms and conditions, deceptive negative options, and misleading upsells, in violation of the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act.
Congress unanimously passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act to protect people’s ability to share in any forum their honest opinions about a business’ products, services, or conduct. Some companies had been using contract provisions – including their online terms and conditions – to threaten to sue consumers or penalize them financially for posting negative reviews or complaints. The new law makes that illegal.
The military community makes many of the same consumer decisions as their civilian counterparts. We all need to manage our money – and avoid rip-offs. But servicemembers and their families also face unique challenges, like frequent relocations and deployment. When a permanent change of station is on the horizon, a military family needs to rent or buy a new place to live, manage money while on the move, and be vigilant about dealing with businesses in an unfamiliar locale. A servicemember’s regular paycheck from Uncle Sam can make them a target for scammers.
A participant on a reality dating show who doesn’t tell the truth? So what’s new. A participant on a reality dating show who is a defendant in an FTC action and doesn’t tell the truth in a sworn financial statement? That’s a different story.
It’s a digital spin on an old-school business: an online service that offers to pay “top dollar” for consumers’ used smartphones, laptops, or tablets. The technology may be trending, but according to the FTC and the State of Georgia, Nevada-based Laptop & Desktop Repair engaged in a classic 20th century bait-and-switch – and bilked consumers out of millions in the process.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. That’s what consumers who signed up for NutraClick’s “free” samples learned. But what can your business take away from the FTC’s settlement with NutraClick? If your company is considering offering a negative option program, and wants it to be a positive experience, you’ll want to read on.
The Internet of Things refers to consumer products that connect to the Internet to send and receive data – everything from fitness devices, wearables, and smart cars to connected smoke detectors, light bulbs, and refrigerators.
In the popular video game Shadow of Mordor, players don’t just randomly slash, hack, and pillage. They battle specific opponents through a feature known as the Nemesis System. In the FTC’s lawsuit against Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, truth in advertising had a nemesis: paid pitches for Shadow of Mordor that Warner Bros. deceptively claimed were independent reviews.
Online reviews and endorsements can be key to consumers’ decision-making. In fact, surveys show that over 70% of American consumers turn to online sources before making a purchase. Advertisers already should know about FTC principles for making sure that online reviews and endorsements are honest and not misleading.
We loved Scooby-Doo as much as the next person, but each episode seemed to end the same way. Just when Shaggy, Fred, Velma, and Daphne nabbed the culprit, he took off a mask to disclose his identity – or so we thought until he removed yet another mask to reveal who he really was.
In Amazon’s Appstore, many apps geared toward kids prompted them to use fictitious currency, like a “boatload of doughnuts” or a “can of stars,” as part of game play. But a federal district court recently agreed with the FTC that Amazon’s practice of charging cold, hard cash for those imaginary items and billing parents and account holders without their express informed consent violates Section 5 of the FTC Act.
Everyone has a job hunting horror story. Ours is the rejection letter we got on a Friday for a job interview scheduled for the following Monday. But a job interview that’s really just a sales pitch, often conducted by software designed to mimic a real person? A lawsuit against Gigats is the latest FTC action targeting deceptive practices in the lead generation industry.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down for some Q&A with members of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), one of the leading self-regulatory organizations for the online, interest-based advertising industry. One of the questions they posed was what additional actions industry should be taking to address online tracking as it develops ever more complex technologies. My answer? Tell people how they’re being tracked and offer them easy-to-use tools to block all of the techniques used to track them.