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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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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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.