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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Responding to a data breach?

by Lisa Weintraub Schifferle on Oct 26, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC

You suspect that your business experienced a data breach. Maybe an employee lost a laptop, or a hacker got into your customer database, or information was inadvertently posted on your website. Whatever happened, you’re probably wondering what to do next.

The FTC’s new Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business outlines the steps to take and whom to contact. Here’s a glimpse of what’s inside.

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ERSP to Lead Roundtable at Direct Selling Association Conference

by Jessica Grodzki on Oct 21, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy

ERSP Director Peter Marinello will be speaking at the Direct Selling Association’s Business and Policy Conference on October 24th in Washington, D.C. Peter will be on the panel entitled, “Income and Lifestyle Claims and Advertising Roundtable: Trends and Guidance,” which will explore the practical application of the DSA’s Code of Ethics, and the legal, regulatory and self-regulatory underpinnings for claims standards related to consumer testimonials, and express and implied advertising claims pertaining to income and success.
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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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FTC Releases Staff Perspectives on Lead Generation

by Jonathan Pompan and Ellen Berge on Oct 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy, FTC, Support Services

For many years, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has been recognized as an effective means to self-regulation by industry members, regulators, and legislators. Now, the program that helps to build consumer confidence in advertising has gained recognition for its recent expansion into covering lead generation marketing by the staff of the FTC.

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Legal Experts Talk Self-Regulation During ERA D2C Convention

by Jessica Grodzki on Sep 27, 2016 12:00:00 AM D2C Convention, ERSP, Advocacy, DRTV, Masters Series

There was a lot of interesting dialogue regarding advertising self-regulation at the ERA D2C Convention in Las Vegas earlier this month. ERSP Director Peter Marinello moderated a Masters Series panel entitled, "D2R - It's Hot and It's Not What You Think." It featured Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Venable’s Jeffrey Knowles, Invictus’s Bill Knowlton, and Manatt’s Marc Roth.

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Protecting a Brand in Cyberspace

by Jeffrey D. Knowles, Marcella Ballard, and Justin E. Pierce on Sep 23, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, Digital Marketing, e-Commerce

Protecting one’s brand today requires more foresight and vigilance than ever. The Internet and cutting-edge technologies enable individual infringers to attain wide distribution of counterfeits with decreased chances of detection. Whether creating multiple accounts to sell counterfeit goods on popular e-commerce platforms or dealing in trade secrets and stolen intellectual property through the anonymity of the “dark web,” infringers have multiple ways to maximize profits while minimizing manufacturing costs and the risk of getting caught. Here are some trends worth noting in intellectual property and brand protection for 2016.

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Avoid Importing a Compliance Problem

by Jeffrey D. Knowles, Andrew E. Bigart and Doreen L. Manchester on Sep 6, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, DRTV

In March, a new federal law took effect that places additional pressure on importers to develop compliance systems for their supply chains, including identification of items potentially made with forced labor. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (Trade Act) prohibits the import into the United States of goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured in a foreign country by convict, forced, or indentured labor. The new law comes at a time when federal and state regulators are turning their focus to supply chain management as a way to combat forced labor overseas.

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ERSP Shares Legal Updates from Recent Events

by Jessica Grodzki on Aug 18, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, Self Regulation, DRTV

In early August, ERSP hosted a webinar for the ERA Government Affairs Committee. During the presentation, Peter Marinello, ERSP director, discussed the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Annual Meeting held in July in Sun Valley, Idaho. At the conference, Attorneys General, and other regulatory experts explored current legal issues, ranging from the short-term rental market to the ethics of online legal services.
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Is there a difference between 'natural' and 'all natural'? FTC says yes

by Ivan Wasserman on Aug 10, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC

I am often asked: “Legally, is there a difference between claiming that a product is "natural" as opposed to "all natural" or "100 percent natural"? While I have done my best to answer that question without any guidance from the government, we finally know what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks—at least for now.

As I previously reported, in April the FTC announced that it had settled four cases against personal care companies that claimed their products were “all natural” or “100 percent natural” even though they contained synthetic chemicals.

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Telling Stories with Transparency

by Lesley Fair on Jul 20, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, DRTV

“Omnichannel” may be the term du jour, but it’s business as usual for electronic retailers. For more than 30 years, they have introduced innovative ways of communicating with prospective buyers—and have wrestled with the legal challenges that creative formats can present.

Nowhere is the advantage of experience more apparent than in native advertising—content that bears a similarity to the news, feature articles, product reviews, and other material that surrounds it.

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The Importance of Being Kevin

by Peter Marinello on Jul 15, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy, DRTV

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”―Oscar Wilde

The date was Feb. 11, 2003. It was colder than usual in New York City that winter morning when FTC Chairman Tim Muris stepped to the podium to address the Cable Television Advertising Bureau. Unbeknownst to those in the audience, things were about to get much chillier. Chairman Muris called everyone’s attention to the screen over his right-hand shoulder and proceeded to show an excerpt from an infomercial for “The Enforma System.” The segment featured a succession of delicious, mouth-watering foods like eggs, bacon, sausage, French-fried potatoes, fried onion rings, hamburgers, and lasagna; thin models in bathing suits and claims like, “You can eat anything you want and never, ever, ever have to diet again.

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Enforcement Goes Global

by Lesley Fair on Jun 27, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, e-Commerce, International

Your supply chain is global, and chances are that your customer base is, too. International commerce has become business as usual for most direct response marketers, and international consumer protection is a growing part of the mission of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). How does FTC promote consumer interests in the borderless world of online commerce? Through effective law enforcement and stepped-up cooperation with the agency’s global counterparts.
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ERSP Aims to Bring Broader Awareness About Self-Regulation

by Jessica Grodzki on Jun 22, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy

Following a successful conference in May, ERSP is continuing to make a concerted effort to increase program awareness by reaching out to more regulatory organizations. Next month, ERSP Director Peter Marinello will attend the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Annual Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, from July 17-20.
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[Q&A] How Can the Industry Safeguard Against Heightened Regulatory Scrutiny?

by Electronic Retailing Association on Jun 17, 2016 12:02:14 AM Advocacy, Support Services

Recently, ERA spoke with Manatt’s Richard Lawson, a partner in the firm’s Consumer Protection practice, who, until recently, was Director of the Consumer Protection Division for the Florida Attorney General, about a fundamental part of the direct response ecosystem—payment processing services. Lawson shared his perspective on why enforcement efforts are picking up in the sector and the best ways processors and independent sales organizations (ISOs) can protect themselves in light of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

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What’s ERA Good For, Anyway?

by Chuck Wilkins on Jun 10, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERA News, Committees & Councils, ERSP, Advocacy

If you have worked in electronic retailing for any amount of time, you have either asked this question or been asked by someone in the industry. It’s an appropriate question to ask. We face a period of change. Our industry, our association, and even our companies are changing, and it is not always clear that the strategies that have worked for the past 25-plus years will remain viable.

So, what is ERA good for? The answer is many of things, especially in times like these.

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ERSP Looks to Boost Engagement Following a Successful ERSP Summit

by Jessica Grodzki on Jun 3, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy

Last week, ERSP held its annual ERSP Summit in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with ERA’s Government Affairs Fly-In. Over the course of the afternoon, attendees heard from legal professionals, industry leaders, and the FTC about the past, present, and future of direct response advertising self-regulation. It was a great afternoon full of engaging and thoughtful conversation about the industry and what lies ahead. ERSP would like to thank the ERSP Summit sponsors: Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC; Invictus Law; Locke Lord LLP; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; and Venable LLP.
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Let’s Talk About Order Attribution on a Drive-to-Web Campaign

by Shannon Nelson on Jun 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERA News, Committees & Councils, Advocacy, DRTV

In DRTV, you’ve probably worked on a campaign that includes a URL in the commercial. Because who doesn’t have a website these days?! If you haven’t worked on a campaign of this nature, you’ve seen a spot on TV with a URL, so you know this call-to-action is here to stay. In fact, it’s growing!

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Government Affairs Fly-In 2016: Experts Talk Policy & Presidential Politics

by Vi Paynich on May 26, 2016 1:00:13 AM ERSP, Advocacy, Self Regulation

There was a definite buzz in the air at the ERA Government Affairs Fly-In 2016, which took place on May 25 in Washington, D.C. Not only were attendees ready to hear the latest on Operation Choke Point and FTC policy surrounding digital media, but they were also excited about discussing this year’s Presidential race and what the outcome might mean for our industry.

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ERSP Summit Looks at the Future of Self-Regulation

by Vi Paynich on May 25, 2016 1:42:46 AM ERSP, Advocacy

This year’s ERSP Summit cast a bright spotlight on self-regulation with the theme, “Self-Regulation in The Changing World of Direct Response Advertising.” On May 24, legal experts and direct response marketing professionals converged at SunTrust Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss key trends and issues affecting the industry today, and take an honest look at where direct response advertising is heading. The half-day conference addressed such topics as: the regulatory focus on the lead generation and payment processing industries; recent developments at the FTC; and how emerging advertising platforms have created new challenges for the direct response industry.

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Dialed-Up Litigation

by Ian P. Murphy on May 20, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy

Direct response advertisers face a number of hurdles in getting the word out about their products, mostly from FTC regulations put in place to protect consumers. But class action lawsuits are a particular source of consternation—not only are they difficult to predict and avert, but some also seem to be filed in search only of profit.

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ERA TV Council Highlights Native Advertising on May 5 Call

by Vi Paynich on May 4, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERA News, Committees & Councils, Advocacy, DRTV

What makes an infomercial (long-form DRTV) a form of native advertising? Is there a fine line between entertainment/capturing viewers’ attention and an advertisement? And, does context matter when using advertising as programming? These are just some of the questions that will be addressed during this month’s ERA TV Council call.

TV Council co-chair Caitlin Haire and guest speaker Amy Ralph Mudge, partner at Venable LLP, will offer insight into DRTV’s history with the native advertising format, legal factors, along with the impact of regulation as a result of native advertising. What’s more, they will discuss the state of infomercials/DRTV native advertising today.

Join the TV Council call on Thursday, May 5th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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ERSP Summit Agenda Revealed

by Peter Marinello on May 3, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy, Self Regulation, DRTV

ERSP is excited to announce its complete agenda for this year’s ERSP Summit event on May 24. At this year’s event, “Self-Regulation in The Changing World of Direct Response Advertising,” legal professionals and industry leaders will discuss trends in direct response advertising. During the half-day workshop, topics will include: regulatory focus on the lead generation and payment processing industries; recent developments at the FTC; and how emerging advertising platforms have created new challenges for the direct response industry.

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Key Government Leaders to Speak at ERSP Summit & ERA GA Fly-In

by Vi Paynich on Apr 22, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, Self Regulation

ERA is gearing up for another exciting ERSP Summit and Government Affairs Fly-In on May 24-25 in Washington, D.C., at SunTrust Headquarters. This is an opportunity for the direct response marketing industry to come together for a two-day event to get up to speed with what’s happening in today’s regulatory climate, and advocate for direct-to-consumer marketing on the Hill.

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The FTC Brings Down the Avalanche

by Len Gordon on Apr 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC, Self Regulation

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) frequently settles its cases through suspended judgments, where the full amount of the judgment is suspended based on the defendant’s ability to pay. A recent case highlights the risks companies and individuals face if they fail to adequately disclose their assets to the FTC during settlement discussions.

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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.