Negative consumer experiences can result in lost

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Unformatted text preview: inate advertisements that require disclosures. Negative consumer experiences can result in lost consumer goodwill and erode consumer confidence. Clear, conspicuous, and meaningful disclosures benefit advertisers and consumers. iii Federal Trade Commission I. Introduction Day in and day out, businesses advertise and sell their products and services online.1 The online universe presents a rewarding and fast-paced experience for consumers, but also raises interesting — and occasionally complex — questions about the applicability of laws that were developed long before “dot com,” “smartphone,” and “social media” became household terms. In May 2000, following a public comment period and a public workshop held to discuss the applicability of FTC rules and guides to online activities, FTC staff issued Dot Com Disclosures. That guidance document examined how the Commission’s consumer protection statutes, rules, and guides apply to online advertising and sales and discussed FTC requirements that disclosures be presented clearly and conspicuously, in the context of online advertising. In May 2011, FTC staff began seeking input to modify and update the guidance document to reflect the dramatic changes in the online world in the preceding eleven years. After three public comment periods and a public workshop, this revised staff guidance document was issued in March 2013.2 This document provides FTC staff guidance concerning the making of clear and conspicuous online disclosures that are necessary pursuant to the laws the FTC enforces. It does not, however, purport to cover every issue associated with online advertising disclosures, nor is it intended to provide a safe harbor from potential liability. It is intended only to provide guidance concerning practices that may increase the likelihood that a disclosure is clear and conspicuous. Whether a particular ad is deceptive, unfair, or otherwise violative of a Commission rule will depend on the specific facts at hand. The ultimate test is not the size of the font or the location of the disclosure, although they are important considerations; the ultimate test is whether the inf...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014.

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