What Priorities Will FTC Stress in Its Impending Online Advertising Guidelines?


If you advertise or sell over the Internet, be aware that changes are afoot at the FTC that will affect your business. The Commission is in the midst of revamping its Dot Com Disclosures, guidelines it prepared back in 2000 regarding online advertising. It issued a request for public comment on prospective revisions in late May. Now that the comment period has ended in early August, we are in a wait-and-see period until the new guidelines are published.

The original guidelines were pretty broad, generally providing that advertising standards that applied to more traditional media also applied to advertising over the Internet.

Acknowledging the vast technological developments in marketing since the Dot Com Disclosures were published over a decade ago — e.g., mobile marketing, the app economy, pop-up blockers and social networking – the FTC requested comment on a number of issues, in 11 questions. For instance, it requested comment on (1) what issues have been raised by new technologies or Internet features, (2) what should its staff consider regarding online advertising techniques or consumer online behavior, and (3) what issues have arisen from multi-party selling arrangements.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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