Social Studies

by Lesley Fair on Mar 24, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, Digital Marketing

Is there a company today that doesn’t encourage prospective customers to like ’em, friend ’em, or otherwise engage with ’em on the social media? And as you incorporate social strategies into your marketing plans, are you also considering how established truth-in-advertising standards apply? Recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) law enforcement actions offer marketers advice on avoiding goofs and gaffes when going social.

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ERSP Summit 2016 Set for May 24 in Washington, D.C.

by Peter Marinello on Mar 23, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy

On Tuesday, March 15, ERSP Advertising Review Specialist, Jessica Grodzki co-presented with Gayla Huber from IntegriShield at LeadsCon in Las Vegas. Self-regulation in the lead generation space has been a very topical issue for both advertisers and regulators and Jessica focused her discussion, in part, to dispel the common misconception that companies are not responsible for advertising done by third parties. Aside from obvious compliance risks, the “free” advertising marketers are receiving from third parties from unauthorized lead forms are costing them tens of thousands in missed revenue annually.

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Doing Business in New Jersey? Your Website Terms & Conditions May be Plaintiffs’ Next Target

by Elissa J. Glasband, Jennifer S. Schiefelbein, and Christopher B. Fontenelli on Mar 15, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, Digital Marketing, e-Commerce

Doing business in New Jersey just got thornier. Recent decisions broadly interpreting the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), N.J.S.A. 56:12-14, et seq., have spawned a flurry of pre-suit notification letters and class action complaints claiming that companies’ website terms and conditions, advertisements, consumer contracts, and other written communications run afoul of the statute. The TCCWNA prohibits sellers from “offer[ing] to any consumer or prospective consumer or enter[ing] into any written consumer contract or giv[ing] or display[ing] any written consumer warranty, notice or sign” that “violates any clearly established legal right of a consumer.” TCCWNA violations entitle plaintiffs to statutory and actual damages, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees.

Why Should the TCCWNA Matter to Me Now?

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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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ERSP Unveils General Activity Report

by Jessica Grodzki on Feb 26, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy

The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) recently released its General Activity Report for the ERSP Review Program. The report discusses ERSP’s latest activities under its program to review telemarketing scripts and calls, as well as recordings of live real estate investing seminars by companies participating in its Review Program. You can read ERSP’s General Activity Reports here.

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ERSP: 2015 in Review

by Jessica Grodzki on Jan 25, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy, FTC

In 2015, in addition to its case work, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) worked towards creating greater visibility for the program and continued to seek out new opportunities for advertising self-regulation.

Last year, ERSP attended several events and spoke on webinars, including LeadsCon NY, the Republican Attorneys General Association’s ERC Meeting, Conference of Western Attorneys General, Follow the Lead: An FTC Workshop on Lead Generation, the ERA’s Government Affairs Committee, ERA’s Great Ideas Summit and D2C Convention, and Social Media Week NYC.

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[SESSION SPOTLIGHT] Matching Claims to the Evidence: Brainstorming With the Experts

by Vi Paynich on Jan 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM Great Ideas Summit, Advocacy, DRTV

Do you have a question or two about the product claims made in your DR creative? Are you worried about any potential red flags? If so, then we highly recommend attending the Masters Series session, “Matching Claims to the Evidence: Brainstorming With the Experts,” on Tuesday, February 23 at The Great Ideas Summit 2016.

Spend an hour with our presenters and have your questions answered by seasoned legal professionals Randy Shaheen (Venable LLP) and Ivan Wasserman (Manatt).

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The FTC Awakens: Native Advertising Enforcement Statement Out Just in Time for the Holidays

by Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen on Jan 7, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy

It’s been a big week for premieres. And if you thought you sensed a disturbance in the Force then the Force is indeed strong with you as the FTC just released their Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements and Business Guidance on Native Advertising.

A long time ago, in a conference room far, far away, the FTC held a workshop on Native Advertising with a promise that some form of industry guidance would follow.

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Transparency, Compliance, and Self-Regulation: DR’s Engines of Growth

by William R. Knowlton, Esq. on Dec 23, 2015 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy

We live in a world that’s governed by complex regulations. But the rapidly growing range of marketing platforms includes everything from mass-market print advertising to highly targeted, location-based ads that are delivered directly to handheld electronic devices. The “average” consumer is getting more sophisticated, making research-based, considered purchase decisions via smartphone as opposed to impulse buys.

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Case Study: Advertiser Vetting Reveals Chinese Counterfeiting Ring

by Jackie Westmoreland on Dec 16, 2015 8:30:00 PM Advocacy

Counterfeit products are prevalent throughout the digital marketplace, deceiving consumers, infringing on major brands, and damaging site reputations. However, because of the complexity of the advertising placement process, many ads for counterfeit goods still make their way through ad networks and onto reputable publisher sites.

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Cyber Monday success: Five tips for online retailers

by Lesley Fair on Nov 25, 2015 1:21:50 PM Advocacy, Digital Marketing, e-Commerce

For online retailers, Cyber Monday can set the stage for a gleeful gift-giving season. Here are five tips to help make your “presents” known to holiday shoppers.

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ERSP Discusses Protecting and Educating Consumers

by Jessica Grodzki on Nov 23, 2015 8:00:00 PM Advocacy

On October 30th, the Federal Trade Commission hosted its “Follow the Lead” workshop, which focused on the consumer protection issues raised by the practices of the lead generation industry. ERSP Director Peter Marinello spoke on the last panel of the day, “Looking Ahead – Protecting & Educating Consumers.”

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FTC Lead Generation Workshop: More Questions than Answers

by Marc Roth on Nov 15, 2015 3:00:00 PM Advocacy

On Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted a full-day public workshop to explore consumer protection issues raised by online lead generators, with a special focus on the education and lending industries. Aptly titled “Follow the Lead,” the program brought together various stakeholders in the lead generation arena, including publishers, advertisers, consumer advocates, lead verification firms, and regulators. With some exceptions, the general consensus was that third-party lead generators can provide an efficient and cost-effective method to develop qualified prospects, but that the integrity and growth of this medium may be stymied by unscrupulous companies that seek to deceive consumers in the process of developing (and using) leads, which raises serious concerns for all stakeholders.

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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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ERSP Addresses Telemarketing and Lead Generation Practices

by Jessica Grodzki on Oct 20, 2015 5:00:00 PM Advocacy

Earlier this month, ERSP held a general self-regulatory meeting at the 2015 ERA D2C Convention in Las Vegas. Peter Marinello, ERSP director, led the discussion, which focused on a potential new self-regulatory initiative that would monitor and review direct response marketing that contains negative option offers, among other marketing practices. The idea for this new program was well received, and ERSP looks forward to potentially adding the initiative to its self-regulatory portfolio.

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Understanding USPS’s Underpaid Postage Claims

by Jeffrey D. Knowles, Matthew Field, David M. Levy, and Ian D. Volner, Venable LLP on Oct 11, 2015 3:00:00 PM Advocacy

In recent years, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has concluded that it lacks adequate controls against short-payment or nonpayment of postage on metered mailings. The Postal Service responded by stepping up enforcement, and business mailings of parcels—the type of mailings sent by most direct response marketers—is an area of special concern.

This is because such mailings typically include a mix of pieces of varying weights, shapes, and contents, and are sent at varying rates of postage. In addition, commercial mailers of parcels typically use postage meter strips or labels—not preprinted, bulk-mailing permit markings—to indicate postal payment. USPS normally verifies only a tiny fraction of these pieces before accepting them for processing.

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Legal Considerations in Children’s Advertising

by Greg Sater on Sep 21, 2015 8:30:00 PM Advocacy, DRTV

You may know the rules of the road for consumer product advertising. But did you know that special guidelines apply to ads directed to children under the age of 12? And did you know that if your ads fall into that category, you can be challenged by a self-regulatory body of the Better Business Bureau known as the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU)?

Similar to the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), CARU reviews ads including television spots airing during children’s programming.

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ERSP Hosts General Meeting at the ERA D2C Convention

by Jessica Grodzki on Sep 20, 2015 3:00:00 PM ERSP, Advocacy, Self Regulation

The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) is looking forward to attending ERA’s D2C Convention in Las Vegas early next month. With the recent developments and news regarding advertising self-regulation, ERSP will be hosting a meeting on Wednesday, October 7th at 11:45 a.m. in the St. Julian room.

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ERSP to Attend FTC Workshop on Online Lead Generation

by Leanne Gabinelli on Aug 17, 2015 7:00:00 PM Advocacy

As many in the industry are aware, the FTC recently announced that it will host a workshop this fall to explore the growth of the lead generation advertising industry. Since 2012, ERSP has been reviewing lead generation advertising for direct response marketers in the coaching and mentoring space. ERSP’s program is voluntary and is run in accordance with the ERSP Policy and Procedures.
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Consumer Protection that Translates

by Lesley Fair on Aug 13, 2015 6:00:00 PM Advocacy

With buying clout estimated at more than $1.4 trillion, U.S. Hispanic consumers are a force to be reckoned with—and electronic retailers make up an impressive percentage of the $5 billion spent on targeted advertising. Whether companies choose to market in English or Spanish, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mission remains the same:  Proteger a los consumidores (protect the consumers).
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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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ERSP Meets with State Attorneys General

by Peter Marinello on Jun 22, 2015 5:30:00 PM Advocacy

On June 5, Bill Knowlton of Invictus Law and I gave a 20-minute presentation about the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) and advertising self-regulation at the Republican Association of Attorneys General’s (RAGA) ERC Meeting in Martha’s Vineyard.
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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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4 Degrees to Self-Regulation

by Vi Paynich on May 28, 2015 3:00:00 AM Advocacy

If you had the pleasure of attending this year's ERA Government Affairs Fly-In, then you are well aware that federal regulators aren't the only ones paying close attention to the direct response industry. Recently, DR marketing practices have come under scrutiny by State Attorneys General, making self-regulation even more critical today.

So, what makes a good self-regulation program? According to the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), there are several hallmarks to a successful self-regulatory framework, but four characteristics are absolutely critical.

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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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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.