Category Archives: Internet/Social Media

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FTC Throws the Works at iWorks and Obtains Partial Summary Judgment on Online Advertising Issues

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada granted partial summary judgment for the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) against Jeremy Johnson and a number of related corporate entities collectively referred to as “iWorks,” offering a glimpse into how the FTC and the courts analyze certain online advertising issues. The FTC first … Continue Reading

Social Networking and Reputation Service Website Jerked to a Halt by the FTC

Last week, the FTC issued an Order and summary decision against the owners of Jerk.com, an “anti-social network” website for deceiving users about the source of the website’s content.  The website invited users to create profiles of other users and rate the users profiled as “jerk” or “not a jerk.” In a twist of fate, … Continue Reading

Fantasy League Competitors Battle on the NAD Court for Decision Over Who Can Claim “Largest US-Based Website”

We love a good March Madness legal blog (see here and here and here)  and NAD gave us some great fodder this month deciding a case between two large daily fantasy sports league websites.   This one wasn’t exactly an upset like so many of the games this year leading to the Sweet 16.   DraftKings claimed … Continue Reading

BBB Updates Advertising Code to Keep Pace with Technology

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), known for being the home of NAD, CARU and other advertising self-regulatory forums, is now also the proud owner of an updated advertising code.  The BBB announced earlier this month significant updates to its Code of Advertising for the first time since 1985 (when the number one single was “Careless … Continue Reading

FTC Doesn’t Win Them All

We’ve noted before that the FTC has been increasingly aggressive in pursuing a perceived wrong doing and has had a fair amount of success in court in those efforts. The FTC, however, does not win them all. Late last year, the FTC suffered a rare denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction involving a … Continue Reading

The FTC Speaks Softly But Carries a Big Stick – Do Paid Search Terms Go Under the Microscope?

Are paid search terms about to receive a lot more Federal Trade Commission (FTC) attention?  That’s the question you could be asking after the FTC last week announced a settlement with Nourish Life LLC.  Defendants marketed a dietary supplement called Speak that contains among other things omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin … Continue Reading

Compliance Trends for Online Marketers

Looking back 2014 was a year of increased government scrutiny and compliance obligations for lead generators and online marketers, and so, for 2015, advertisers will need to ramp up compliance.  Avoiding banned terms, better use of disclosures, and other web and contact center compliance enhancements – with at least some reports of 66% of website … Continue Reading

Do Not Shoot Yourself in the Foot by Making Admissions in Your Disclaimer

There may come a time (but hopefully not) where you need to write a website disclaimer, email, Facebook post, whatever trying to dispel consumer confusion and head off an advertising lawsuit.  How might you do that?  Keep editing if your first draft looks something like this:  “We have learned that some customers are confused and … Continue Reading

California Enacts Law Protecting Minors’ Digital Privacy Rights

Kids say the darndest things, and California wants to make sure that when it comes to their online postings those kids get a do-over.  On January 2015, California law SB 568 entitled “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World” will go into effect, allowing minors to remove certain posted online content as well … Continue Reading

Your Websites Terms of Service are Unenforceable

The vast majority of Terms of Service (TOS) on websites are unenforceable. Companies spend a great deal of time and money in crafting what they believe to be appropriate website specific TOS which they hope will provide them with the various protections, safe harbors and advantages needed in dealing with the public or in transacting … Continue Reading

From Art Gallery to Billboard – The Game-Changing Presence of Promoted Pins on Pinterest®

Pinterest®, since it first appeared on the scene in 2010, has been the darling of crafty do-it-yourselfers (DIYs), ambitious brides-to-be, fitness aficionados, foodies, and anyone else interested in creating their own little portfolio of images carefully curated from sites around the Internet.  Pinterest has consistently presented itself as a tool that could be used by … Continue Reading

Facebook Changes the Rules Again: The Sally Field Principle of “Likes” on Social Media

We’re all pretty used to seeing sweepstakes that require entrants to “like” an advertiser’s or app’s Facebook® page in order to enter—they’re probably the most common type of promotion on Facebook.  Many marketers require consumers to “like” an application’s Page as a condition of entry into a sweepstakes or contest, in order to receive coupons … Continue Reading

Striking Stats About Internet Marketing and Online Lead Generation

Online advertisers and marketers, including lead generators, and their service providers, have long had to contend with scrutiny from the FTC, state Attorneys General, competitors, and customers.  And, since 2012, advertisers of consumer financial products and services have had to contend with the CFPB.  Regardless of what you are promoting, bedrock advertising law says an … Continue Reading

FTC Stays the Course on Prenotification Negative Option Plans

On July 25, the FTC announced that it would retain its Prenotification Negative Option Rule (“Rule”) without modification after completing a regulatory review of the Rule.  Numerous state and local law enforcement agencies had submitted comments urging the FTC to expand the scope of the Rule.  The FTC declined to do so, and instead adopted … Continue Reading

Seeking Backers for That Kickstarter Campaign You’re Cooking Up? Better Make It One Heck Of A Dish…

Zack (Danger) Brown recently made headlines for his Kickstarter® Campaign, which was featured in CNN.com, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker as well as on Good Morning America (I guess TV stars eat carbs after all).  Unlike other entrepreneurs on the popular crowdfunding platform, who use Kickstarter to launch a business idea or concept, … Continue Reading

Don’t Let the Stars in Your Eyes Blind You to the Risks of Celebrity Ad Campaigns

It’s the time of year when we Americans honor the Stars and Stripes, but people all over the world get starry-eyed over celebrities.  Recognizing this, advertisers like to use celebrity images in advertising.  Recently, we wrote about Katherine Heigl’s $6 million lawsuit against Duane Reade for a tweet using her photo without her permission, and … Continue Reading

NAD Issues Split Decision in Greek Wrestling Match over Taste Test, Social Media and Providing Free Goods to Bloggers Issues

James Bond preferred his martinis “shaken, not stirred” but what about Greek yogurt with fruit at the bottom?  Well, according to the NAD, stirred or not stirred are both equally acceptable (no word on “shaken”).  That was only one of several questions NAD resolved in a challenge by Chobani to a Yoplait Greek Yogurt taste … Continue Reading

What’s in a Name? Dollars – At Least When You’re A Celebrity

Katherine Heigl, a star of the television series Grey’s Anatomy and films like Knocked Up and 27 Dresses, recently made non-TMZ headlines when she sued drugstore chain Duane Reade for $6 million dollars for posting a photo of her to its Twitter and Facebook accounts, accompanied the text “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl … Continue Reading

FTC Gives Cole Haan’s Contest the #Boot

On March 20, 2014, the FTC issued a closing letter to Cole Haan that will affect all kinds of advertisers (and advertisements) on social media.  In particular, it will impact the way that brands interact with users on Pinterest and tell their users to use hashtags in contests and other types of promotions.  So advertisers, … Continue Reading

Love Is a Battlefield, and Possibly a Lawsuit

Anyone who has ever been on a date knows that dating rituals are all about false advertising. “No, I don’t mind doing the dishes after dinner.”  “I have a great relationship with my family.” “Oh please, let me get the check.” But earlier this week, we were treated to a new twist on a modern … Continue Reading

Come for the Game; Stay for the Commercials: Celebrities Dominate Super Bowl

Every year, we look forward to the Super Bowl.  For the commercials.  Our friends and family laugh at us, but they get it since advertising law is what we do.  This year, when the game did not prove to be an equal match up, after exhausting the wing and nacho bowl, many others turned to … Continue Reading
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