Bill McClellan

Recent Posts

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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Why We Love The Federal Trade Commission (And You Should, Too!)

by Bill McClellan on Jan 11, 2017 2:00:00 PM Advocacy, FTC, Government Relations

It’s been a “Yuge” year so far.

Last week I shared a “beautiful” cheat sheet to help Direct Response Marketers survive the Trump era and this week I’ve got something better.

What you might ask?

Well the only thing that can trump that would be the inside scoop straight from the FTC. That’s why I reached out to my friend and long-time FTC insider Lesley Fair.  She agreed to visit with ERA’s Government Affairs Committee to tell us “what’s really going on” so you can do a safety dance. 

Thankfully the FTC agreed to the visit as well. That’s why we love the Federal Trade Commission (and you should, too!).

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The Ultimate Direct Response Cheat Sheet for the Trump Era

by Bill McClellan on Jan 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM ERSP, FTC, Government Relations

Hello 2017!

It’s nice to finally meet you after all the bumpy election action we saw last year.  I am expecting 2017 to be “Yuge”!

No really, the Trump administration is just getting started with all its ideas and policies.  In the signature words of our President Elect “we have to figure out what’s going on."

In order to have a smooth transition through these changes, I have prepared this “beautiful” Direct Response cheat sheet just for you.  As we now say in Washington, it’s “Bigly” (or “Big League” depending on whom you ask).

So 2017 let’s do this!   

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The Trump Era?

by Bill McClellan on Nov 28, 2016 1:30:00 PM Government Relations

The election of 2016 is finally over.  By all accounts this campaign season was a no holds barred battle. The candidates offered contrasting visions for our country’s future that where robustly explored and vetted by the electorate.  No national consensus emerged on policy. Rather, voters split along geographic fault lines for their favored candidates.

A troubled nation, divided.    

Where are we now?

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The Consumer Protection Round-Up!

by Bill McClellan on Nov 11, 2016 1:00:00 PM ERSP, FTC, Class Actions, State Ag's, CARU


Last July the ERA Government Affairs Committee held a webinar that covered important information regarding consumer protection. 

For those unable to attend the live webinar, the Government Affairs Committee is pleased to share the recording for your convenience.

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Mobile Guidance for Interest-Based Advertising

by Bill McClellan on Oct 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy

Earlier this summer, our GA Committee had a super treat from our friends at the Digital Advertising Alliance. We were joined by Geni Barton, Vice President and Director of the Online Interest-Based Advertising Self-Regulatory Council for the Council of Better Business Bureaus. 

Now that’s a long title!

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What's Up In DRTV? Manatt Knows!

by Bill McClellan on Jul 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM FTC, Self Regulation, DRTV


There is always a lot going on in the DRTV world. You know as well as I that it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we recently asked our friends at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, to brief ERA’s Government Affairs Committee about what has been happening the last couple of months.

The Manatt team of Marc Roth, La Toya Sutton, Lauren Aronson, and Holly Melton covered a ton of ground.

They Updated On The:

  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • State Attorneys General
  • ERSP Self-Regulation
  • Class Actions
  • Website Terms of Use
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Jet Into D.C. for the 2016 Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on May 17, 2016 11:30:00 PM

WOW! I am super excited this year about the Government Affairs Fly-In 2016 and our companion event the ERSP Summit, which will take place May 24-25 at SunTrust Headquarters right here in Washington, D.C.!

This year is already a huge success for these events with incredible speakers lined up for our industry guests.

From the Federal Trade Commission, we have Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, Associate Director Marketing Practices Lois Greisman, and Mary Engle, Associate Director for Advertising Practices.

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Why Operation Choke Point Legislation Is a Big Deal for Direct Response

by Bill McClellan on Apr 4, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Things are gearing up for the upcoming Government Affairs Fly-In! We have a great event planned this year with an incredible lineup of key speakers including Kyle Trygstad, Editor, The Hotline; D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine; Lois Greisman, Associate Director at the Federal Trade Commission; and Lee Peeler, President and CEO, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council. It’s a jam-packed lineup with more speaker surprises to be announced soon.

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5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Should Save the Date for the 2016 GA Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on Mar 9, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERA News, Advocacy

The renowned ERA GA Fly-In is back! This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. 

The two-day event will be held at the Washington SunTrust Headquarters, starting on Tuesday, May 24th and concluding May 25th. Here is an overview of the two-day event to help you make your travel plans:

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Heads Up DRTV – The FTC’s Lesley Fair Is Back!

by Bill McClellan on Feb 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM

You might remember last year’s listener advisory where Lesley Fair filled us in with an FTC behind-the-scenes update. Hearing straight from an FTC insider was huge. It was one of our most popular blog posts last year.

Working with both Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen over at the Venable law firm, we reached out to Lesley again this year to see if she would visit with the GA Committee.

Thankfully she agreed. Now she is telling us what is REALLY going on.  

Her presentation entitled, “2015 Top10 for Electronic Retailers,” has it all.

The hit list includes:

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Will Hillary trump Donald?

by Bill McClellan on Nov 4, 2015 5:30:00 PM Advocacy

Way back at the beginning of August I reported that the presidential election of 2016 was starting to explode early. I described a race where Hillary Clinton had practically locked up the Democratic presidential nomination.

That still holds true today. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where Hillary Clinton is not the 2016 Democratic nominee.

I was equally correct identifying an early surge for Donald Trump. He has grown politically strong while many of his competitors have grown weak.

However, I didn’t see the bombshells coming. I don’t think anyone did.

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TRUMP for President? [Is Direct Response Ready?]

by Bill McClellan on Aug 2, 2015 1:00:00 PM Advocacy

Donald-Trump1-196962-editedEarlier this spring, I reported to ERA’s Board that the 2016 presidential election had kicked off early. My thoughts on the race were simple. Press coverage of the campaign had begun to fill the vacuum left by Congressional dysfunction and inactivity. Further, in DC it just felt like President Obama had prematurely entered the lame duck portion of his presidency.

In the absence of action on policy, the press had turned to horse-race coverage of the next presidential election for good reason.    

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[DRTV 2015] Content Marketing & Disclosures

by Bill McClellan on Jun 25, 2015 3:52:00 PM FTC

It's no secret that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has keyed in on content marketing, labeling, and disclosures in 2015. The direct response industry is abuzz with behind-the-scenes chatter, giving those in the loop a heads up to pay attention. Often actions by the government can be confusing and not make much sense at first. It's only when you take a closer look that the picture becomes clear.

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[DRTV Quick Hits] LeanSpa, iWorks & Daniel Chapter One

by Bill McClellan on Jun 12, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy

It’s summer in Washington, D.C.! Looking outside my window, the weather is nearly perfect and the city is filled with visitors from all around the world. It’s truly amazing the number of people who skip the beach on their vacations to visit the White House, Smithsonian, and the other world class DC attractions.

On the way back to the office from lunch today I have to confess I got a little jealous of all the fun everyone was having. It’s OK though—my vacation is coming up soon and I am really looking forward to it.

Back in the office it dawned on me that others in DRTV might be stuck in the office as well, while friends, co-workers, and family vacation. I immediately realized a special blog post was in order.

While I cannot teach you baby ninja skills, I might have more important information that can really make a difference for you and your business. 

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[Takedown] How DRTV Can Combat Counterfeiting on Asian E-Retail Sites

by Bill McClellan on May 27, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy

We here at ERA are big fans of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They do a great job and we often work with them behind the scenes to help out the industry. Recently, we talked to them about the massive Counterfeit problem direct response marketers have in China. One of our contacts at the Department said that a recently presented webinar they had hosted would be of interest to ERA members. 

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Why Data Breach Legislation Is a Big Deal for Direct Response

by Bill McClellan on May 5, 2015 11:28:00 AM Advocacy

Things are gearing up for next week’s Government Affairs Fly-In! As I discussed in a previous post, we are very excited to welcome Utah State Attorney General Sean Reyes as a featured keynote speaker. But wait, there's more...

The news just gets better. In addition to hearing from a sitting State Attorney General for the first time ever, we have another treat in store for this year’s event.

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Components of Self-Reg. [What Direct Response Marketers Need to Know]

by Bill McClellan on May 1, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy, Self Regulation

Expressions-19Have you heard about the ERA Government Affairs Committee's new guest speaker series? We have dedicated the year to bringing the Direct Response Marketing community more great ideas that help you comply with rules and regulations in a complex and evolving world. We strive to make things simple and strip away all the legalese and confusion. 

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The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching DRTV

by Bill McClellan on Apr 22, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy

Reyes_250tFirst Harry Hill of Oak Lawn Marketing Group shared his experience about participating in the Government Affairs Fly-In. Then DRTV veteran Jeff Tuller of Savvier explained the importance of seeing firsthand the government and the legislature at work.   

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New ERA Partnership Helps Marketers Grow Business in Asia

by Bill McClellan on Apr 7, 2015 3:00:00 AM ERA News

Recently ERA joined hands with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in a mutually beneficial partnership that should pay dividends for direct response marketers for years to come.

Our agreement expresses a partnership to cooperate on promoting increased bilateral promotional activities.

For the ERA membership, this is big news! Now ERA will be in a position to better strategically assist member companies as they grow their business activities in Asia.   

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Senate Schedules Vote-A-Rama [The 10 Things DRTV Should Know]

by Bill McClellan on Mar 26, 2015 3:30:00 AM Advocacy

Stop the presses! The Senate has scheduled a Vote-A-Rama during the budget resolution vote. More than 100 amendments may get voted in rapid succession in what is called the “Vote-A-Rama.”

What to Expect:  

The Vote-A-Rama consists of votes that are non-binding. It really is political theater at its best. The word on the street is that we can expect a vote on Internet Sales Tax and attempts to repeal the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling.

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Is a Higher Standard of Transparency the Next Big Thing for DRTV?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 13, 2015 3:00:00 AM FTC

Last week, the FTC and NY State office of Attorney General reached a settlement agreement with the Allstar Products Group to resolve a compliance inquiry.

In an effort to enhance the consumer ordering and customer service experience, the company has agreed to provide multiple opportunities for customers to confirm their orders before placing them and to clarify ordering and return procedures.

Will this settlement serve as a Direct Response wake-up call?

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5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Shouldn't Ignore the 2015 GA Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on Feb 27, 2015 3:00:00 AM ERA News, Advocacy

The renowned ERA GA Fly-In is back! This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. 

The two-day event will be held at the Washington SunTrust Headquarters starting on Tuesday, May 12th and concluding May 13th.  Here is a high-level agenda to help you make your travel plans:

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How to Explain What Just Happened At the BBB To Your DRTV Friends

by Bill McClellan on Feb 12, 2015 2:28:00 PM

Earlier today the news broke.

The Better Business Bureau's Code of Advertising, created in the 1960’s, has been revised. The changes could have ramifications throughout the advertising world for years to come.

Why Now?

Times have changed and so has advertising. The new Code of Advertising is being updated for the first time since the 1970s to better reflect the Federal Trade Commission’s current approach to advertising claims. This comprehensive change to the Better Business Bureau’s cornerstone product reflects the many new ways advertisers reach consumers via social media, texting and other channels. 

Who Will Enforce It?

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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.