Bill McClellan

Recent Posts

What Does Your Payment Process Say About Your Business?

by Bill McClellan on Aug 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM Customer Service

Sales are up, and so is fraud. Many credit card processors are still using antiquated systems which could hurt your business. Make sure to research prospective processors wisely so you don’t get trapped in a long-term, expensive contract with a processor who uses outdated equipment and gives poor customer support.

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Back That Claim Up! Examining Claim Substantiation

by Bill McClellan on Jul 27, 2017 3:28:36 PM Advertisements

How do we maintain trust in advertising in a time of increased skepticism of the media? One way is through claim substantiation. During the 2017 ERSP Self-Regulation Summit held in conjunction with the Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington, D.C., our panel of advertising lawyers weighed in on how to navigate the complex world of claim substantiation.

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What’s Telemarketing Got to Do with It?

by Bill McClellan on Jul 19, 2017 9:41:28 AM Advertisements, Consumer Protection

Let’s travel back in time to the 90’s when the majority of lead generators were small sales floors. Fast forward to 2017 and you can probably list off the timing and location of when and where you received your last five robocalls.

This is something you can thank online lead generation for according to Lois C. Greisman, associate director, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission (FTC). She says that by visiting websites and filling out your information, you could be placed on every call list available.

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California Advertising: Automatic Renewal & Continuous Service Offers

by Bill McClellan on Jul 13, 2017 3:20:04 PM Advocacy

As you know, ERA has a laser focus on advocating before the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and the like on your behalf. Due to the nature of the issues the association engages with, it's rare that a state legislative issue rises to the forefront and creates material risk for industry participants around the country. California’s engagement on CAN-SPAM in the early 2000's was an exception to this general rule. However, there is now another California bill, SB 313, that rises to that level. It could potentially have far reaching global implications that you should know about and follow.

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Have a Complicated Relationship With Your Direct Response Advertising Campaign?

by Bill McClellan on Jul 6, 2017 2:00:54 PM Consumer Behavior, Direct Response

Are you worried that your products aren’t effectively reaching your target audience? Frustrated that you need to continue to find creative ways to market products to consumers? It’s complicated.

At the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In, we were joined by speakers Bala Iyer, executive VP & chief operating officer, Telebrands, Marc Roth, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and Jennifer DeMarco, general counsel, All-Star Marketing for a panel entitled, “We’re All in this Together: The Complicated Relationship that Makes up your Direct Response Advertising Campaign.” And the panel was moderated by Ellen T. Burge, partner, Venable LLP.

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What’s Hot in Digital Media? What’s Not Quite so Hot?

by Bill McClellan on Jun 29, 2017 2:10:11 PM Digital Marketing, Advertisements

It’s time to play a game called, ‘what’s hot and what’s not in digital media?’ The insight comes from the 2017 Government Affairs fly-in panel presentation entitled “What’s Hot & Not – Policy & Marketing Strategies for Digital Media.”

We were joined by Jonathan Gelfand, chief legal officer & SVP business development, BeachBody LLC, Rich Cleland, assistant director for advertising practices, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the panel was moderated by Jeff Knowles, partner, Venable LLP.

Our panelists explored the opportunities and challenges associated with issues in the blossoming digital landscape.

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Words to the Wise From a State Attorney General to Direct Response Marketers

by Bill McClellan on Jun 22, 2017 9:41:23 AM Advocacy, Government Relations, Consumer

In May, I wrote “The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching Direct Response Marketers.” This still holds true. State attorneys general, such as Karl A. Racine (D-DC), an up-and-coming star in the Democratic Party, and other state regulators are making enforcement waves on direct response marketers.

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Direct Marketing and Politics: A Partnership for the Ages

by Bill McClellan on Jun 15, 2017 2:01:53 PM Advocacy, Government Relations

Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) joined us as our legislative keynote speaker on day two of the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In and his remarks on the current political landscape were inspiring. Strange’s regulatory experience as Alabama’s Attorney General has given him plenty of background knowledge of the direct response industry to take straight into the U.S. Senate.

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Full Disclosure: What You Need to Know

by Bill McClellan on Jun 8, 2017 2:17:12 PM FTC, Self Regulation

One of our featured speakers at this year’s Government Affairs Fly-In was the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Frank Gorman, assistant director, Division of Enforcement. Gorman supervises compliance investigations and enforcement litigation and previously served as the chief of the FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit.

During Gorman’s presentation, he stressed the importance of being responsive to your customer base and making it easy for customers to cancel your service. Ever try to get rid of a service that you didn’t realize you signed up for and it’s impossible? Well, that company has made a serious error in judgment.

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Got Robocalls?

by Bill McClellan on May 31, 2017 9:28:27 AM FTC, Consumer

Our first featured speaker at the Government Affairs Fly-In, Lois Greisman, was incredible and I’m so glad she kicked off our two day conference. As associate director, she currently heads the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Marketing Practices as part of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Under Greisman’s management, Marketing Practices leads the FTC’s law enforcement initiatives tackling telemarketing fraud (including Do Not Call enforcement), fraudulent investment opportunity schemes, and internet frauds, with particular focus on challenges posed by new technologies and convergence issues.

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Highlights From the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on May 25, 2017 4:37:51 PM Advocacy

Yesterday ERA wrapped up the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In and we could not be more excited for next year! The Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington, D.C. is an opportunity to establish or maintain your presence as an industry leader, as well as network with other DR industry leaders.

Over the last couple days, attendees had the opportunity to personally meet with congressional and regulatory representatives to talk about the issues most important to our industry, actively participate in the legislative process, and gain insights on upcoming policy changes that could affect their business.

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The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching Direct Response Marketers

by Bill McClellan on May 17, 2017 9:36:05 AM FTC, Digital Marketing, Direct Response

Recently, I told you "A Story about “Big Luther” Strange III" to encourage you to come to this year’s GA Fly-In & ERSP Summit. Later, I reported on the "Top 5 Reasons" you should make the trip. 

While re-reading these top five reasons, I realized I left out one of the most important reasons you should attend this year.

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Jet Into D.C. for the Government Affairs Fly-In 2017

by Bill McClellan on May 10, 2017 11:03:45 AM Advocacy, Government Relations

I am truly excited this year about the Government Affairs Fly-In 2017 and our companion event, the ERSP Summit, which will take place May 23-24 right here in Washington, D.C.!

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Top 5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Need to Attend the Government Affairs Fly-in

by Bill McClellan on Apr 26, 2017 7:57:46 PM

ERA's renowned Government Affairs Fly-In is just around the corner! Our plans for this year’s event are bigger and better than ever.  

If you think your company's compliance efforts can take a break because the Trump Administration is in charge — it's time to think again. State Attorneys General and Self-Regulatory bodies have made an effort to "pick up the slack."

Oh, and Congress has big plans too!

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A Story about “Big Luther” Strange III

by Bill McClellan on Apr 19, 2017 7:21:11 PM Government Relations

Today it is my honor and privilege to tell you a story about the junior senator from the great state of Alabama. Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) assumed office on February 9th, 2017 after his predecessor Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was nominated by President Trump for the position of the Attorney General of the United States of America. Back home and on the campaign trail, he is also known as “Big Luther” Strange.

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Blow-Back to Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Remote Sales Tax Law

by Bill McClellan on Apr 12, 2017 10:11:00 AM Advocacy, Government Relations

Back in January I alerted you to how Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Law would affect marketers. The big picture view is that the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined the review of a case that would require marketers to either collect sales tax on customer purchases in Colorado or report details of the purchase to the state tax collector.

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Do Direct Response Marketers Need Protection from the Phishers?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 29, 2017 2:30:23 PM Government Relations

 

I recently ran across some new advice from the FTC offering tips for businesses that are impersonated during phishing scams. I hadn’t given much thought to this topic before so imagine many you haven’t either. The FTC contends that computer users are not the only ones harmed by phishing scams. The simple fact is that industry is also the victim of these crimes as well. 

How can you combat these phishers? 

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What Do Direct Response Marketers Need to Know about the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 15, 2017 12:00:00 PM Government Relations

Earlier this month the FTC released its annual summary of consumer complaints from its Consumer Sentinel Network. It also released a new Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book which you can find here. There is a lot that Direct Response marketers should know about this data release and the report itself. It is important to understand that the FTC and other consumer protection enforcers use this report, and the underlying data, as a sort of roadmap for future enforcement activity. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for it every year. It is a great tool to help you understand and predict future trends in the consumer enforcement arena.

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Government Affairs Update from Puerto Rico

by Bill McClellan on Mar 8, 2017 5:00:00 PM Government Relations

Hello and greetings from my balcony overlooking the ocean here at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. The view is so perfect I knew I had to include a picture of it or you would probably think that my claim was too good to be true. Anyway, it turns out that a little Caribbean vibe is very, very good for an ERA trade show like GIS 2017. First, if you don’t already know, the food in Old San Juan is just excellent. It exceeded every expectation and you have my strongest personal recommendation on that. Second, it is also clear that a little Puerto Rican Rum can serve as a great accelerant. The parties at this show had a little extra energy and island vibe that is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world.

The education panelists were also just absolutely incredible at this year’s show. I mean people where literally leaving my onsite GA committee meeting early to go hear the speakers. So props and congratulations to the team that worked so hard to bring Dean Gaziosi, Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern, Alex Moore and the other rock star speakers down to visit with us. From now on I am going to make sure my committee meetings don’t conflict with ERA’s education. It’s just hard to compete with celebrities like that.

Thinking back over the week there were some interesting Government Affairs discussions that I want to update you on.

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Will Trump’s Cybersecurity Czar Cost Direct Response?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 1, 2017 3:00:00 PM FTC, Government Relations

Greetings from Puerto Rico! I am currently conferencing here in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton for ERA’s signature Great Ideas Summit 2017.  If you couldn’t make the trip we are sending you good vibes and sunshine and hope you can be with us next time.

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Operation Choke Point Meets the Trump Administration

by Bill McClellan on Feb 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM

At last year’s super successful GA Fly-In, ERA stormed Capitol Hill in search of relief from the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point initiative.   There attendees heard from our keynote presenter Chairman Pete Session (R-TX) of the House Rules Committee who enlightened the industry about the legislation to curb the scope of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” efforts. We then met with key staffers from the offices of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) responsible for the Operation Choke Point mitigation efforts in the US Senate.      

After our briefings, we walked the halls of Congress to advocate for the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 766) in the House and its mirror companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2790).   These critical pieces of legislation where our best hope to ensure that ERA and its members continued to enjoy a world class payment ecosystem as regulators in the Obama Administration looked at ways to cut processing for those they deemed to be “bad actors”.

So what’s up with Operation Choke Point now that President Trump is in office? I am glad someone recently asked me that question and I thought I would share with you the answer in the blog post below.

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Who Is This Net Neutrality Weed Whacker?

by Bill McClellan on Feb 8, 2017 3:00:00 PM Government Relations

President Trump just promoted FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. ERA and our member companies look forward to working with him in the years ahead to ensure our country has good public policy solutions that move our nation forward. 

While congratulations are in order for Chairman Pai and we wish good luck with the new role, there is one little problem with this appointment that must be pointed out.  It turns out that Commissioner Pai is something of an amateur gardener.  While a noble pastime, gardening can also be tricky and caution should be encouraged for a man with such an important new role.  In fact, from all of the reports I have seen to date, it is clear that Commissioner Pai should resist his green thumb urges and leave all of the weed whacking to the professional gardeners at least until the conclusion of his time at the FCC.

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Trump’s Looming Trade Wars

by Bill McClellan on Feb 1, 2017 6:00:00 PM Government Relations

Last week I was pumping up the Trump Administration for identifying Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes as a potential Chair of the FTC along with FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen as the favorite for acting FTC chair. Both are seasoned consumer protection pros who would do a great job. 

Today congratulations are in order with Commissioner Ohlhausen having been appointed as the acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. As I noted last week, I feel a lot better about the FTC with this development.  Commissioner Ohlhausen needs no introduction to ERA having given us a speech in 2013 and again visiting with us for a fireside chat with Ed Glynn in 2015. 

Unfortunately for the President this excellent move at the FTC might be the only thing he got right last week. It was a rocky road on a number of other fronts. The administration was panned for its botched handling of executive orders on the immigration travel ban and it’s restructuring of the National Security apparatus.  These developments sucked up a lot of media attention and distracted everyone from another key story that we are keeping an eye on for ERA members.  That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity and tell you about the very real possibility that we might soon be experiencing the Trump Trade Wars.

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Sean Reyes For Federal Trade Commission Chair?

by Bill McClellan on Jan 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM Government Relations

I have some incredible news to share with you. Recent reports suggest that President-elect Donald Trump is considering Sean Reyes as the next chairman of the FTC. Currently he is the attorney general of Utah.

You may recall Attorney General Reyes’ keynote at the 2015 ERA Government Affairs Fly-In where he got a standing ovation from our attendees. He also had a memorable visit to last year’s D2C conference in Las Vegas where he joined a panel of legal experts to talk about self-regulation.

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Alert: How Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Law Will Affect Marketers

by Bill McClellan on Jan 18, 2017 1:00:00 PM Government Relations

Last year, right before Christmas, a big thing happened that you really need to know about.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined the review of a case that requires marketers to either collect sales tax for purchases made by people in Colorado or report on customer’s purchases to the state.

The industry has been fighting against this outcome since 2011 when the DMA filed suit in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl.  ERA along with its partners in the True Simplification of Taxation (TruST) coalition strongly supported this effort filing and Amicus Brief in support.

However, all the appeals have been exhausted so now Colorado will want you to report. 

Here is what you need to know to get ready:

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.