Category Archives: Internet/Social Media

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Fake Seals and Phony Websites Promoting Dietary Supplements Equals FTC Lawsuit

Three things the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) really doesn’t like: deceptive claims about dietary supplements; deceptive certification or seal programs; and websites that look like editorial content, but are actually advertisements. Put them all together and what do you get? If you guessed a lawsuit by the FTC, you are correct! On June 16, the … Continue Reading

How to Avoid #Translation Fails in Your Next Marketing Campaign

It is no surprise that each year more advertisers are turning to bilingual and foreign language advertising to market their products. According to U.S. census data, over 55 million Americans speak a language other than English in the home. Spanish language advertising, in particular, has increased over the years, in response to the growth of … Continue Reading

Don’t Browse Over Your Website Disclosures

Litigation surrounding the enforceability of website terms isn’t new.  Indeed, back in 2014, we blogged about the Nyugen case. Yet, courts continue to grapple with the question of what constitutes an adequate disclosure and binds website visitors to the terms and conditions of a service agreement. Last month, the Seventh Circuit decided in Sgouros v. … Continue Reading

FTC Creates Compliance Tool for Mobile Health App Developers; Simultaneously Releases Business Guidance

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or the Commission) announced yesterday that it has created a web-based guidance tool for developers of health-related mobile applications (health apps).  FTC did not take this action alone, but rather developed the tool in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for … Continue Reading

Three Strikes and You’re Out!: The FTC’s Native Advertising Case Against Lord & Taylor

Baseball season is just around the corner, and the FTC’s native advertising case against retailer Lord & Taylor illustrates the baseball rule of “Three strikes and you’re out!”  In its first native advertising case since releasing its Enforcement Policy Statement Addressing Native Advertising and Deceptively Formatted Advertising, the FTC reminds advertisers that those guidelines will … Continue Reading

New York AG Targets “Deceptive” Online Endorsements

On February 11, 2016, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced four independent settlements related to the use of allegedly deceptive online testimonials and reviews.  These cases reflect continuing concern by the New York Attorney General’s office over “astroturfing” (the posting of fake or otherwise biased reviews).  We wrote about theses enforcement actions previously … Continue Reading

When It Comes to the Year’s Biggest Sporting Events, Don’t Fumble Your Ad Campaign

Will the Patriots’ dreams of heading to this year’s Super Bowl® get deflated? What, exactly, will Olympic® gold medalist Ryan Lochte do in Rio? How much madness will March cause? This year will be a big one for sports fans and advertisers alike, with Super Bowl 50 and March Madness® around the corner, followed this … Continue Reading

FTC Settlement Sheds Light on Claims of Increased Cognition

It doesn’t take a genius to know that health claims are on the FTC’s radar.  In fact, at last year’s NAD conference, Commissioner Brill said that the FTC will prioritize enforcement of unsubstantiated health claims, such as cognitive claims.  We have blogged about learning claims before, including the Word Smart case.  However, Lumosity, which created … Continue Reading

No Cop Out in COPPA: The FTC’s First Enforcement Actions on Persistent Identifiers

Last week, in settlements with two app developers, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced its first enforcement actions under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule”) amendments on persistent identifiers.  Persistent identifiers are data that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different websites or online services.  In 2012, we … Continue Reading

FTC Keynote at BAA Conference: Outpacing Zombies in Today’s Digital Marketplace

FTC Deputy Director Daniel Kaufman launched into his keynote address at this year’s BAA marketing law conference by comparing the modern digital marketplace to the most talked about TV series as of late: The Walking Dead.  He pointed out that the show has spawned active social media engagement and user generated content (#GlennIsAlive…or is he?), … Continue Reading

Under the Influence

As Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  But Peter Parker had to learn the hard way, and marketers and social influencers sometimes need to as well.  Well-known influencers can come from anywhere – some have big screen starts, others are video game superstars, and still others are makeup geeks.  Some even … Continue Reading

Your Social Media Policy, the FTC and the DOL

When your employees “speak” in social media, using their personal social media accounts, what they “say” may interest at least two different federal agencies with different agendas.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates endorsements your employees may make related to their employment, while the Department of Labor (DOL) enforces the labor law that entitles employees … Continue Reading

Broadening Your Self-Regulatory Options – 2 Sheriffs in Town

The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council operates several self-regulatory programs including CARU, NAD and ERSP.  Traditionally these have been thought of as distinct programs – CARU regulates marketing to children, ERSP regulates companies that market and sell their products electronically while NAD oversees most traditional national advertisers.  While this compartmentalization is largely true, there is some overlap … Continue Reading

CARU Heats up with Fireside Chat about Hot Button Issues in Children’s Marketing with Commissioner McSweeny

Huddled in front of a digital hearth on the third and final morning of the NAD Annual Conference, FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny participated in a cozy fireside chat about children’s marketing with ASRC President and CEO, C. Lee Peeler. The newest FTC Commissioner reported (or warned!) that she is closely following the evolution of marketing … Continue Reading

Survey Says: NAD Panel Weighs in on Surveys

In contrast to a general emphasis on new data and new claims at the 2015 NAD conference, NAD staff attorneys, advertising lawyers, and survey experts took the time to weigh in about the emphasis NAD will continue to place on traditional best practices of consumer surveys for claim substantiation or challenge.  Although online surveys programs … Continue Reading

Live From New York, It’s …The NAD Annual Conference

Well, not quite live.  This week we’ll be providing updates from the NAD Annual Conference, which kicked off today in New York.  The keynote address was given by  FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, who reminded the audience that while the advent of the internet age and social media has radically changed how advertisers market their products and … Continue Reading

Hear! Hear! FCC Modernizes Contest Rules for Broadcasters

The days of on-air fast-talking contest announcements are coming to an end.  Last Thursday, the FCC adopted revised rules that allow broadcasters to disclose contest rules on an Internet website, as opposed to reading them over the air.  Prior to this rule change, under the FCC’s “Contest Rule” (47 C.F.R. Section 73.1216), broadcasters that advertised … Continue Reading

FTC and YouTube Channel Machinima Don’t See Eye to Eye

In yet another sign that the FTC is serious about enforcing its now not-so-new Testimonial and Endorsement guides, the agency just reached a settlement with Machinima over an influencers’ campaign designed to promote Microsoft’s Xbox One and several game titles for the console.  And, on a related note, if your company doesn’t already have policies … Continue Reading

FDA Warns About Celebrity Social Media

Kim Kardashian is everywhere. But there were some bumps in the road when she took to social media on behalf of the drug company Duchesnay, Inc. to promote its morning sickness drug Diclegis. On Instagram, Ms. Kardashian breathlessly told her followers “OMG. My morning sickness has been bad. My doctor prescribed me Diclegis, and I … Continue Reading

Payment Processing Alert for Internet Retailers: The October 2015 EMV Shift Will Complicate Your Chargeback Management Efforts

What if your chargebacks increased by 40%, practically overnight?  This is one estimate by payments industry experts of the potential impact on card-not-present (CNP) merchants that could result from the October 2015 shift to EMV chip technology in the U.S. market.  Payments companies are worried that many CNP merchants, including Internet retailers, aren’t prepared to … Continue Reading

Age-Gating Your Website: Do Not Make it a Scandal

‎”Gates” as scandals probably started with Watergate but many other embarrassments followed suit with a similar gating moniker. Nipple-gate or Janet Jackson’s Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, Zoe Baird’s Nanny-gate are just a few. Age-gating your website to make sure it is COPPA-compliant should not give rise to messy press and finger-pointing. ‎Web designers and marketers need … Continue Reading

Website Owners: No Safe Harbor from Copyright Liability for Infringing Content Posted by Third Parties on Your Site If You Are Not Following DMCA Formalities

Did you know that, under the U.S. copyright law, if a third party uploads or posts copyrighted material to your website, and the third party did not have authorization to do so from the copyright owner or exclusive licensee of that material, your organization can be held strictly liable for copyright infringement as the operator … Continue Reading

Court Attempts to Smooth out ROSCA Violations

As we’ve mentioned before, and as this year is unfolding, it looks like the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is even more desperate to enforce the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”) than we are to find good skin care products.  The FTC has begun expanding its enforcement of ROSCA into various industries, including now the … Continue Reading
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