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The Federal Trade Commission will host a workshop on December 4, 2013 in Washington, DC to examine the practice of blending advertisements with news, entertainment, and other editorial content in digital media, referred to as “native advertising” or “sponsored content.”

Workshop logo: Blurred lines. Advertising or content?The workshop, “Blurred Lines:  Advertising or Content?” will bring together publishing and advertising industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and self-regulatory organizations to explore:  the ways in which sponsored content is presented to consumers online and in mobile apps; consumers’ recognition and understanding of it; the contexts in which it should be identifiable as advertising; and effective ways of differentiating it from editorial content.

The workshop will be free and open to the public.  It will be held at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C.

The tentative agenda is included below.  Any updates, along with logistical information for those planning to attend can be found on the workshop website.




Welcoming Remarks
Edith Ramirez
Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission


A Historical FTC Perspective:  Advertorials, Infomercials, and Paid Endorsements
Lesley Fair
Staff Attorney
Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission


The Wall Between Editorial and Advertising:  Its Origins and Purpose
Nicholas Lemann
Professor of Journalism
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism


Panel 1
Sponsored Content in Digital Publications:  The forms it takes and how it operates

Laura M. Sullivan, Staff Attorney
Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission

Tessa Gould, Director of HuffPost Partner Studio
Huffington Post

Todd R. Haskell, Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Hearst Magazines Digital Media
Hearst Corporation
Lisa LaCour, Vice President of Global Marketing
Outbrain Inc.

Chris Laird, Marketing Director, Brand Operations
The Procter & Gamble Company

Ash Nashed, Chief Executive Officer, Adiant

Adam Ostrow, Chief Strategy Officer, Mashable, Inc.

Steve Rubel, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Strategist


Lunch Break


Lessons of Nauru

Bob Garfield, Co-host of On the Media and MediaPost columnist


Panel 2
Consumer Recognition and Understanding of Native Advertisements
Michael Ostheimer, Staff Attorney
Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission

Jamie Cole, Creative Director, Red Barn Media Group

Michelle De Mooy, Senior Associate, National Priorities
Consumer Action

David J. Franklyn, Professor, Director of the McCarthy Institute for IP and Technology Law
University of San Francisco School of Law

Dan Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer, Sharethrough
Co-Chair of Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Native Advertising Taskforce

Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Lecturer in Residence and Director of Information Privacy Programs, Berkley Law & Technology Center

Jeff Johnson, Principal Consultant, UI Wizards




Panel 3
The Way Forward on Transparency:  A discussion of best practices

Mary K. Engle, Associate Director
Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission

Laura Brett, Staff Attorney
National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus

Sid Holt, Chief Executive, American Society of Magazine Editors

Amy Ralph Mudge, Partner, Venable LLP

Jon Steinberg, President and Chief Operating Officer, BuzzFeed Inc.

Robin Riddle
Global Publisher of WSJ Custom Content Studios, The Wall Street Journal

Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Mike Zaneis, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and General Counsel,
Interactive Advertising Bureau


Closing Remarks
Jessica Rich, Director
Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted to Lara Busby via email at or by calling 202-326-3388.  Requests should be made in advance, and include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and 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, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information


Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs


Laura Sullivan or Michael Ostheimer
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3327 or 202-326-2699