FTC Developing New Disclosure Rules

by Revenue Performance Staff
March 8, 2012

The Federal Trade Commission is asking for input on what kinds of disclosure by online and mobile advertisers are needed. This could have massive implications in the future for the performance marketing industry. In their announcement the FTC specifically mentions disclosure around mobile offers, pre-landing page ads and social platforms.

The workshop, to be held on May 30, will potentially cover: 

  • How can effective disclosures be made on social media platforms and mobile devices – including when they are used in commercial texting – that limit the space available for disclosure? For example, when consumers are paid or receive other benefits for providing an endorsement, how can they effectively disclose on platforms that allow only short messages or a simple sign of approval?
  • When can disclosures provided separately from an initial advertisement be considered adequate? For example, if a consumer receives a location-based ad for a discounted cup of coffee on her mobile device because she is near a particular coffee shop, what terms must be disclosed in the mobile ad and what terms, if any, do not have to be disclosed until the consumer enters the coffee shop to make her purchase?
  • What are the options when using devices that do not allow downloading or printing the terms of an agreement? For example, is providing consumers a means to send a copy of the agreement to themselves to read later an effective way to provide this information?
  • How can disclosures that are made in the original advertisement be retained when the advertisement is aggregated (for example, on dashboards) or re-transmitted (through, for example, re-tweeting)?
  • What are the disclosure opportunities and limitations of hyperlinks, jump links, hashtags, click-throughs, layered disclosures, icons, and other similar options? How should these options be evaluated in terms of placement and proximity?
  • How can short, effective, and accessible privacy disclosures be made on mobile devices?
  • What does the research show about how consumers’ use of mobile and other devices can affect the effectiveness of disclosures on particular devices or platforms? And what does it show about the relationship between how consumers use mobile devices and their understanding of disclosures and advertising displayed on mobile devices? What does the research show about how consumers make decisions based on that information? Is there specific research on the effectiveness of disclosures on mobile devices, including layered disclosures and icons, and, if so, what are the implications of that research for disclosures such as offer terms and privacy practices?
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