Last week, I reported to ERA’s Board of Directors about a critical case the U.S. Supreme Court had decided to take up and hear arguments on. Effectively, the Supreme Court has decided to re-hear arguments on the online sales tax issue.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continues to be an important topic of conversation for U.S. companies. Since its inception, the GDPR has raised a number of questions as to whether businesses are properly prepared to comply. The GDPR was adopted on April 27, 2016, and allotted a two-year post-adoption grace period for businesses to strategize and implement their compliant approach. With less than two months left, it has been reported that an estimated 61% of U.S. businesses are not ready for the regulation, and that only 67% of European-based businesses have begun moving into the implementation phase of their GDPR compliance program. The potential fines have many concerned about compliance as the May 25, 2018 date of enforcement approaches, but businesses struggle with fully understanding the regulation and thus fail to launch a comprehensive plan.
Is the ERA/ERSP Government Affairs Fly-In vital to your direct response marketing business? The answer should be a decisive yes! Why? The Fly-In shines a spotlight on the most critical issues affecting the industry today and puts you in front of the government regulators and Congressional leaders whose decisions could have a dramatic impact on current and future legislation.
On Tuesday, April 10, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a witness before a joint session of two Senate Committees — the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee. Basically, that means that Mark could potentially face almost half of Congress during his questioning period. There are 100 Senators in Congress and 44 of them serve on either of these two Committees. That’s a lot of potential questions.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released its 2017 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. Have you had a chance to check it out yet?
During 2017, the system had 2.7 million reports, a slight decrease from 2016. Fraud accounted for 1.1 million reports (42.54% of all reports). The identity theft category had 371,000 complaints (13.87%), with the “other” category rounding the majority of the remaining complaints with a 1.2 million (43.59%) total.
Recently, Amy Mudge of Venable LLP sat down with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Mary Engle to discuss social media influencers in the Snapchat era.
There is big buzz brewing in the industry. At the recent ERA Great Ideas Summit in Miami, we held an educational session entitled, “How to Improve Your Better Business Bureau Rating.” The panel was introduced by ERA board member, Phil Smith, President of Response, who sponsored this important effort.
Early last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its new five-year strategic plan for the fiscal years 2018 through 2022. I thought I would take this week’s blog post to highlight some of the FTC’s forward-looking operational thinking and how it relates to the Direct Response community. This roadmap will guide the FTC over the next five years so it should provide us with an outline of the FTC’s plans in the years ahead.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has always had a reputation for bipartisanship among the commissioners and other leadership staff. As we have previously reported, there are currently four open positions on the Commission out of a total of five spots. Over the past year, there has been the question of whether the well-deserved reputation of working together across party lines would hold in this era of hyper-partisanship.
Earlier this year, ERA issued a press release with my reaction in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to review of its Internet Sales Tax rulings. Specifically, the court granted a petition for certiorari in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., Overstock.com, Inc. and Newegg, Inc.
The FCC’s Sponsorship Identification Rule is a close, perhaps neglected cousin of the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements, i.e., its Native Advertising Guide. Nevertheless, the FCC’s latest enforcement action demonstrates how failure to follow the rule can result in penalties far larger than any imposed to date by the FTC.
Over the years working at ERA, I have developed a long standing tradition to start the new year. After returning to work from vacation I keep an extra close eye on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s website and announcements to see what they have announced as priorities in the year to come.
Sitting here in the Washington D.C. area during this year’s “bomb cyclone” blizzard, I am really looking forward to visiting the warmer climate of Miami, Florida for ERA’s 2018 Great Ideas Summit scheduled for February 26-28 at the Eden Rock Hotel.
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To say that strong passions have surrounded the recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to reverse 2015’s net neutrality rules is putting it mildly.
A while back, I blogged on the pending Net Neutrality action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced plans to upend the current FCC Net Neutrality protections finalized in 2015. That effort, slated to start Thursday, December 14, is expected to result in an adverse ruling for our industry.
It has been a busy fall for ERA’s government affairs efforts! It seems like just yesterday that we were all gathered together as an industry at the D2C show in Las Vegas.
Last week, I was in NYC with the board of directors for a town hall meeting to get industry feedback on our members’ concerns followed by our annual NYC reception. It was a great event and I enjoyed catching up with everyone who was able to make it.
Many of you might remember ERA’s Net Neutrality 'Ninja.' For those who do not, Net Neutrality has been an ongoing battle between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the folks like us - ERA members who use the ISPs’ “pipes” to connect with each other and customers alike. This policy battle has been going on for years. There was a lull in the action during the Obama administration when the FCC codified Net Neutrality principals into FCC regulation. But now it’s back....
Photo taken from Congressman Bob Goodlatte's Facebook page.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has been a longtime industry friend on a number of issues important to direct response companies. Since 2013, he has served as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. In this position, he was a key player in the online sales tax debate where he actively championed legislation that would limit the states’ capacity to tax sales of remote retailers.
For over a century, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) has helped people find businesses, brands, and charities that they can trust. That’s a big idea with a lot of moving parts. To be effective, the CBBB has become an umbrella organization that includes local independent Better Business Bureaus (BBB) and national partner programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.
One of the big topics of discussion at ERA’s 2017 D2C Convention in Las Vegas was the growing concern around the recently announced Equifax Data Breach. Both the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate agreed with this consensus and have recently held four hearings on the hack featuring Richard Smith, the former Equifax CEO.
Ten months after the Trump Administration took over from President Obama’s team, we finally have a selection for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman seat. Joseph Simons is currently an attorney at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP. He is no stranger to the agency as he has previously lead the Bureau of Competition.
I have just returned from the hugely successful 2017 ERA D2C Convention held at the Wynn Las Vegas. While in our meetings at D2C, there was a lot of conversation about self-regulation and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
As states continue their quest to compel online vendors to collect sales and use tax on sales to customers located in the state and to subject such vendors to state income tax, a current trend has been targeting vendors selling via online marketplaces. Some states assert that the presence of inventory held for a vendor or the presence of the marketplace provider/facilitator in a state acting on behalf of a vendor is sufficient nexus or connection of the vendor with the state to subject the vendor to the state’s taxing jurisdiction.
At the end of August, I wrote a blog entitled “Advisory: Free Trials, Automatic Renewals & the Road Ahead.” The blog covered how regulators, both state and federal, as well as state legislatures have keyed in on negative option offers and automatic renewals.
It’s a big deal that isn’t going away anytime soon.
It has been a super busy summer here at ERA. There has been lots going on at the FTC, with our self-regulation program ERSP, and with Congress (believe it or not).
In preparation for the 2017 ERA D2C Convention at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, I wanted to make sure that you do not forget about the Online Sales Tax issue in all the excitement.