The current guidelines have made it clear that, regardless of technology, online advertisements must disclose material information, but MediaPost reports that the rules focus primarily on banner ads and websites.
Late last week, the Federal Trade Commission announced its plans to conduct a major overhaul of its May 2000 online advertising rules, known as the "Dot Com Disclosures."
In the early stages of development, the Commission has put out a request for public comments, seeking information on how it can adapt its online advertising rules to better comport with the technological and legal advances of the last 11 years.
With the explosion of mobile marketing, smart phone apps, and social media, it's been difficult for businesses to determine just when and how they must disclose information.
The agency has attempted to keep up with some trends, promulgating online advertising rules requiring bloggers to disclose sponsorship and product placement. It also recently addressed paid endorsements on Twitter, advising advertisers to add a special hashtag, like "#ad," according to MediaPost.
However, its efforts in the area of online advertising have remained minimal, and have mostly been comprised of reminders that marketers should avoid deceptive practices by erring on the side of disclosure.
Whether you choose to comment or not, it's important to keep abreast of any changes, as they are likely to impact the way you use the internet to do business.
And, in the meantime, remember that, even absent detailed federal online advertising rules, deceptive marketing has been successfully punished under state unfair competition laws when FTC regulations haven't clearly applied.
- FTC Considers Update to Online Ad Disclosures (ClickZ)
- Advertising and Marketing (FindLaw)
- Bloggers and Paid Reviews: New FTC Guide to Endorsements (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Fair Advertising Guide for Small Businesses (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)