Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Advertise Right: Small Business Guide to Legal (and Illegal) Ads

You want to get your small business's name and product out there. But you don't want to get sued over it. You also might want to drum up business for a sale, but don't want to violate state or federal commercial codes. So how do you advertise right?

Here are a few tips and things to consider, from our archives:

1. Small Business Truth-in-Ads Tips

A good place to start is to be honest in your advertising. If your product or service is good enough, you won't have to fudge facts to get customers and clients. But it's not just customers that want truth in advertising -- it's the Federal Trade Commission as well. Find out what the FTC considers deceptive when it comes to advertising.

2. 3 Things You Shouldn't Put In Your Ads

As important as what you put into your advertising is what you leave out. False claims about your own products, lies about your competitor's, and a person's image used without their permission can all get you in hot water, legally speaking. Find out how.

3. Types of Illegal Price Advertising

When it comes to placing a dollar amount on the value of your product or service, there are strict controls on how you may alter that price or convey it to customers. While prices may fluctuate, they can't change for the wrong reasons, and sale prices must reference actual original prices. Oh, and don't place ads for a service you don't provide.

4. BBB Says Deceptive Native Ads Now Violate Advertising Code

The Better Business Bureau is trying to clamp down on native, promoted, and sponsored advertising content on social media. So make sure your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads are BBB-compliant.

5. When Is a Blog Post an Advertisement?

Speaking of online ads, if your business has a blog or someone blogs about your business, when does that post become an advertisement? Generally speaking, any paid relationship between blogger and business must be disclosed, but it can be more complicated than that.

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