Posts tagged with Ftc

Can Google walk a mile in Microsoft's shoes?

Google and Microsoft are long-standing rivals. Microsoft, of course, has played the role of the old, stodgy tech stalwart, while Google has played the role of the innovative, quirky upstart.

But Google and Microsoft may soon have a lot more common. That's because the Federal Trade Commission, spurred on in part by complaints from Google's own advertisers, is reportedly opening a wide antitrust probe that will determine if the search giant is abusing its search dominance in an illegal manner.


FTC seeks input on Dot Com Disclosures revision

In May 2000, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a number of guidelines designed to help companies stay in compliance with numerous consumer protection laws as they increased their presence on the then-nascent commercial internet.

The FTC's Dot Com Disclosures (PDF) document largely explained how existing laws around advertising and disclosure applied in the context of the internet, and provided some specific examples.


Unworkable "Do Not Track" bills coming to the US

Online privacy may be one of the most important digital issues of the day, and it's only getting more important as more and more people use the internet more frequently.

Not suprisingly, government is increasingly looking to assert its role in the debate. Late last year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a staff report suggesting that one attractive solution to many privacy concerns would be a Do Not Track mechanism that allows consumers to opt out of tracking.

The primary method of accomplishing this, the FTC proposed, would be a "persistent setting, similar to a cookie, on the consumer’s browser".


J.C. Penney part deux: look at our high-quality paid links!

It's been a bad week for J.C. Penney, which found itself penalized by Google and scrutinized by the media after a paid link scheme apparently orchestrated by an outside vendor -- now fired -- was uncovered and detailed in the New York Times.

Not surprisingly, J.C. Penney isn't sitting idly by. It's defending itself.


Will the OFT regulate paid tweets?

Marketers have been paying celebrities to endorse their products and services for decades, so it's no surprise that there's a booming market for celebrity endorsements via their social media profiles.

With the help of companies like, celebrities and 'influencers' are reportedly earning thousands upon thousands of dollars for a single tweet or Facebook status update.

In the United States, marketers paying high-profile individuals to tweet and blog about their products worried the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so much that it developed guidelines around the practice.


The FTC's Do Not Track proposal: useless, harmful or both?

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has increasingly been taking a more active role in trying to make sure that online marketers aren't harming consumers. That has meant, amongst other things, keeping a close eye on marketing taking place through social channels. You know, Kim Kardashian's tweets.

Yesterday, the FTC issued a long-awaited staff report that "proposes a framework to balance the privacy interests of consumers with innovation that relies on consumer information to develop beneficial new products and services."


Beyond cookies: digital fingerprints may track personal devices

Cookie monster

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a comprehensive online privacy report calling on the industry to offer consumers a simple opt-out mechanism, i.e. a universal "do not track" setting on the browser. So what will the FTC think of the digital fingerprinting businesses a new crop of tech firms are trying to launch: targeting ads by tracking users' individual devices. 

The promise is more accuracy and better targeting than cookies. But will the business model creep consumers out more than cookies already do?


Foursquare, kickbacks and consumers as media

Foursquare's founder Dennis Crowley has an idea: turn influential social media users into affiliate marketers.

At a panel discussion the other day, he suggested that if you mention a brand, or one of its products and services, and that mention generates revenue for the brand, "you should get some kind of referrer’s fee." He predicted that within a year, "there will be some way for [users] to get kickbacks" through social media platforms.


Apple to give developers guidance, Adobe a chance

Not sure why Apple hasn't permitted your awesome iPad app in the App Store? Worried about developing an iPhone app using anything but Objective-C?

Rejoice. Yesterday Apple made a major, unexpected announcement: it's going to be providing official guidelines "to help developers understand how we review submitted apps" and it's also easing restrictions on the tools developers can employ when developing for the iPhone/iPad.


FTC: Brands are on the hook for blogger endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission made waves last October with new disclosure guidelines for endorsements online. Repeatedly, the group has expressed surprise that consumers and brands reacted so strongly. From their perspective, the guidelines simply elucidated rules that were already in place.

At BlogHer Business '10 in New York on Thursday, Stacey Ferguson, senior attorney in the Division of Advertising Practices at the FTC, reiterated that fact. But while the guidelines may not have changed any of the FTC's rules on endorsements, they brought increased scrutiny without clear enforcement rules. And it looks like the FTC still doesn't have any clarity on that part.

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Google to the FTC: Efficiency killed the news industry, not us

If an industry's broken, can regulation fix it? That's one of the issues that is currently being addressed in the respect to journalism. The Federal Trade Commission is convinced that original reported journalism cannot be sustained by the current environment online. To fix that, the organization is considering a few remedies. One could be a 5% consumer electronics tax. Another is regulation that will prevent low cost news aggregators from scavenging newspapers' reported content.

But there are more than a few things that stand in the way of such regulation. Including Google. In a blog post called Business problems need business solutions, Google explained in no uncertain terms that regulation isn't the way to save journalism.


How to save journalism? The FTC thinks there's a tax for that

Journalism, apparently, is in trouble. The once-dominant financiers of journalism -- newspapers -- are dying. And while some see hope in new media, the harsh reality is that journalism's woes have less to do with distribution mediums and more to do with business models.

That's because the kind of journalism that is threatened is expensive, and even online, there aren't too many business models that can support it. So what should we do?