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FTC Guide on Online Advertising

FTC Guide on Online Advertising

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Published by Daniel Ballard
Federal Trade Commission guide on online adversising
Federal Trade Commission guide on online adversising

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Daniel Ballard on Mar 12, 2013
Copyright:Public Domain


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Federal Trade Commission
In the online marketplace, consumers can transact business without the constraints oftime or distance. One can log on to the Internet day or night and purchase almost anythingone desires, and advances in mobile technology allow advertisers to reach consumers nearlyanywhere they go. But cyberspace is not without boundaries, and deception is unlawful nomatter what the medium. The FTC has enforced and will continue enforcing its consumerprotection laws to ensure that products and services are described truthfully online, and that
consumers understand what they are paying for. These activities benet consumers as well as
sellers, who expect and deserve the opportunity to compete in a marketplace free of deceptionand unfair practices.The general principles of advertising law apply online, but new issues arise almostas fast as technology develops — most recently, new issues have arisen concerning space-constrained screens and social media platforms. This FTC staff guidance document describesthe information businesses should consider as they develop ads for online media to ensure
that they comply with the law. Briey,
1. The same consumer protection laws that apply to commercial activities in othermedia apply online, including activities in the mobile marketplace. The FTC Act’sprohibition on “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” encompasses online advertising,marketing, and sales. In addition, many Commission rules and guides are notlimited to any particular medium used to disseminate claims or advertising, andtherefore, apply to the wide spectrum of online activities.2. When practical, advertisers should incorporate relevant limitations and qualifyinginformation into the underlying claim, rather than having a separate disclosurequalifying the claim.3. Required disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. In evaluating whether adisclosure is likely to be clear and conspicuous, advertisers should consider itsplacement in the ad and its proximity to the relevant claim. The closer the disclosureis to the claim to which it relates, the better. Additional considerations include: theprominence of the disclosure; whether it is unavoidable; whether other parts ofthe ad distract attention from the disclosure; whether the disclosure needs to berepeated at different places on a website; whether disclosures in audio messagesare presented in an adequate volume and cadence; whether visual disclosures

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