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The Federal Trade Commission will host a one-day public workshop on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 to consider the need for new guidance for online advertisers about making disclosures.  New guidance is likely to address technological advancements and marketing developments that have emerged since the FTC first issued its online advertising disclosure guidelines known as “Dot Com Disclosures” 12 years ago. The workshop will be from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, at the FTC Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.  It is free and open to the public. The event will be webcast, and pre-registration is not required.

The workshop will cover revising the Dot Com Disclosures so they better illustrate how businesses can provide clear and conspicuous disclosures in the current online and mobile advertising environment. Any revisions will be consistent with the goals of the original guidelines and will continue to emphasize that consumer protection laws apply equally to online and mobile marketers, and to other media. The FTC began seeking input for revising the Dot Com Disclosures guidelines last year.

This is the preliminary agenda for the workshop:

 Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World
8:30 am  Registration 
9:00 am Welcome & Opening Remarks
9:15 am Presentation on Usability Research
9:30 am Panel 1: Universal and Cross-Platform Advertising Disclosures
  • When, where, and how should required disclosures be made?
  • When and how can hyperlinks and similar techniques be used to make required disclosures?
  • What techniques increase or decrease the likelihood that consumers will actually read a required disclosure?
11:00 am Break
11:15 am Panel 2: Social Media Advertising Disclosures
  • What are the challenges and best approaches to making adequate disclosures on social media platforms that restrict message length?
  • How can required disclosures be made on social media platforms when consumers simply click a button to signify approval of a product or service?
12:30 pm Lunch Break
1:30 pm Panel 3: Mobile Advertising Disclosures
  • What are the challenges and best approaches to making adequate disclosures, given the screen size constraints of mobile devices?
  • Should all commercial websites be designed to ensure that their disclosures are clear and conspicuous when viewed on mobile devices?
  • Are there device-specific or platform-specific constraints that the Commission should consider in providing disclosure guidance?
2:45 pm Break
3:00 pm Panel 4: Mobile Privacy 
  • What are the challenges in delivering short, effective, and accessible mobile privacy disclosures?
  • What research exists regarding the effectiveness of privacy disclosures on mobile devices, and what steps can businesses take to communicate with consumers in a clear and consistent way about their privacy practices?
4:30 pm Closing Remarks

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Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via e-mail to or by calling Carrie McGlothlin at 202-326-3388. Requests should be made in advance.  Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

(Dot Com Media Advisory)

Contact Information

Office of Public Affairs
Richard Cleland
Bureau of Consumer Protection