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In re Reverb Communications, Inc. FTC File No. 092 3199 (Aug 26, 2010)

In re Reverb Communications, Inc. FTC File No. 092 3199 (Aug 26, 2010)

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FTC settles with PR firm (and its principals), who were accused of having their employees write up fake iTunes store reviews.
FTC settles with PR firm (and its principals), who were accused of having their employees write up fake iTunes store reviews.

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Published by: Venkat Balasubramani on Aug 26, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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UNITED STATES OF AMERICAFEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION )In the Matter of ))FILE NO. 092-3199REVERB COMMUNICATIONS, INC., )a corporation, and)AGREEMENT CONTAINING)CONSENT ORDETRACIE SNITKER,)individually and)as an officer and director )of the corporation. ))
The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) has conducted an investigation of certain acts and practices of Reverb Communications, Inc., a corporation, and its officer anddirector, Tracie Snitker (“proposed respondents”). Proposed respondents, having beenrepresented by counsel, are willing to enter into an agreement containing a consent order resolving the allegations contained in the attached draft complaint. Therefore,IT IS HEREBY AGREED by and between Reverb Communications, Inc., by its dulyauthorized officer; Tracie Snitker, individually and as officer and director of the company; andcounsel for the Federal Trade Commission that:1.Proposed respondent Reverb Communications, Inc. (“Reverb”) is a Californiacorporation with its principal office or place of business at 18711 Tiffeni Drive, Twain Harte,California, 95383.2.Proposed respondent Tracie Snitker is the sole officer and director of the corporaterespondent, with her principal office or place of business at 18711 Tiffeni Drive, TwainHarte, California, 95383.3.Proposed respondents admit all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the draft complaint.4.Proposed respondents waive:a. Any further procedural steps; b. The requirement that the Commission’s decision contain a statement of findingsof fact and conclusions of law; and
Page 2 of 7c. All rights to seek judicial review or otherwise to challenge or contest the validityof the order entered pursuant to this agreement.5.This agreement shall not become part of the public record of the proceeding unless anduntil it is accepted by the Commission. If this agreement is accepted by the Commission, it,together with the draft complaint, will be placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30)days and information about it will be publicly released. The Commission thereafter may either withdraw its acceptance of this agreement and so notify proposed respondents, in which event itwill take such action as it may consider appropriate, or issue and serve its complaint (in suchform as the circumstances may require) and decision in disposition of the proceeding.6.This agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by proposed respondents that the law has been violated as alleged in the draft complaint, or that thefacts as alleged in the draft complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true.7.This agreement contemplates that, if it is accepted by the Commission, and if suchacceptance is not subsequently withdrawn by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of Section 2.34 of the Commission’s Rules, the Commission may, without further notice to pro- posed respondents, (1) issue its complaint corresponding in form and substance with the attacheddraft complaint and its decision containing the following order in disposition of the proceeding,and (2) make information about it public. When so entered, the order shall have the same forceand effect and may be altered, modified, or set aside in the same manner and within the sametime frame provided by statute for other orders. The order shall become final upon service.Delivery of the complaint and the decision and order to proposed respondents’ address as statedin this agreement by any means specified in Section 4.4(a) of the Commission’s Rules shallconstitute service. Proposed respondents waive any right they may have to any other manner of service. The complaint may be used in construing the terms of the order, and no agreement,understanding, representation, or interpretation not contained in the order or the agreement may be used to vary or contradict the terms of the order.8.Proposed respondents have read the draft complaint and consent order. Proposedrespondents understand that they may be liable for civil penalties in the amount provided by lawand other appropriate relief for each violation of the order after it becomes final.ORDER DEFINITIONSFor purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:1.Unless otherwise specified, “respondents” shall mean Reverb Communications, Inc., acorporation, its successors and assigns, and its officers, agents, representatives, and employees;and Tracie Snitker, individually, and as an officer and director of Reverb.
Page 3 of 72.“Commerce” shall mean as defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,15 U.S.C. § 44.3. “Material connection” shall mean any relationship that materially affects the weight or credibility of any endorsement and that would not be reasonably expected by consumers.4. “Endorsement” shall mean as defined in the Commission’s Guides Concerning the Useof Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, 16 C.F.R. § 255.0.5.“Clearly and prominently” shall mean:A.In textual communications (
, printed publications or words displayed on thescreen of a computer), the required disclosures are of a type, size, and locationsufficiently noticeable for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend them, in print that contrasts with the background on which they appear;B.In communications disseminated orally or through audible means (
, radio or streaming audio), the required disclosures are delivered in a volume and cadencesufficient for an ordinary consumer to hear and comprehend them;C.In communications disseminated through video means (
, television or streaming video), the required disclosures are in writing in a form consistent withsubparagraph (A) of this definition and shall appear on the screen for a durationsufficient for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend them, and in thesame language as the predominant language that is used in the communication;D.In communications made through interactive media, such as the Internet, onlineservices, and software, the required disclosures are unavoidable and presented ina form consistent with subparagraph (A) of this definition, in addition to anyaudio or video presentation of them; andE.In all instances, the required disclosures are presented in an understandablelanguage and syntax, and with nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or inmitigation of the disclosures used in any communication of them.6.The term “including” in this order shall mean “without limitation.”7.The terms “and” and “or” in this order shall be construed conjunctively or disjunctivelyas necessary, to make the applicable phrase or sentence inclusive rather than exclusive.I.IT IS ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, partnership,subsidiary, division, trade name, or other device, in connection with the manufacturing,

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