March 12, 2013
Earlier today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued revised Dom Com Disclosure guidelines (see: FTC Staff Revises Online Advertising Disclosure Guidelines). From the FTC:
“… the new FTC staff guidance, .com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising takes into account the expanding use of smartphones with small screens and the rise of social media marketing. It also contains mock ads that illustrate the updated principles. Like the original, the updated guidance emphasizes that consumer protection laws apply equally to marketers across all mediums, whether delivered on a desktop computer, a mobile device, or more traditional media such as television, radio or print. If a disclosure is needed to prevent an online ad claim from being deceptive or unfair, it must be clear and conspicuous. Under the new guidance, this means advertisers should ensure that the disclosure is clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms that consumers may use to view the ad. The new guidance also explains that if an advertisement without a disclosure would be deceptive or unfair, or would otherwise violate a Commission rule, and the disclosure cannot be made clearly and conspicuously on a device or platform, then that device or platform should not be used.”
Some of the specific topics addressed by the FTC’s new guidelines (the Canadian parallel of which are the Competition Bureau’s “Internet Advertising Guidelines” – i.e., Application of the Competition Act to Representations on the Internet – which have not been substantively updated in a few years) include: proximity and placement of disclosure; use of hyperlinks; effective disclosure before purchase; disclosure in new media (i.e., where there are space constraints); distracting elements and the overall context of advertising; multi-media; and understandable disclosure for consumers.
For a copy of the FTC’s new guidelines see: .com Disclosures.
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