Showing posts filed under: FTC Beat by Nicole Kardell

January 19, 2012

FTC Enlists Surprising Watchdogs to Police Marketers’ Practices

The FTC is building up its army of watchdogs to police online marketing content and practices.  Who those watchdogs are – and their relationship to the industry – might surprise you. Earlier this month, the agency entered into a settlement agreement with Central Coast Nutraceuticals, an Internet marketer of weight-loss and health products.  The agreement… Read More

January 8, 2012

HCG Marketers Face Hot Pursuit by FDA, FTC

Putting a snag in New Year’s resolutions for pound-shedding, the FDA and the FTC recently sent out warning letters to several companies that sell HCG-based diet products online. (These companies include Nutri-Fusion Systems LLC, Natural Medical Supply, HCG Platinum, LLC, theoriginalhcgdrops.com, HCG Diet Direct, LLC, and Hcg-miracleweightloss.com.) The warning letters, which came at the outset… Read More

November 22, 2011

Google, Microsoft Assume Roles of Judge, Jury and Executioner on the Web

Google, Yahoo! and Bing have suspended their accounts with hundreds of advertisers and agents associated with mortgage programs under federal investigation. The move by Google and Microsoft (Microsoft powers Bing and Yahoo!) has basically shut down these businesses: Without the vehicle of the search engines, these sites cannot effectively generate traffic. Why did Google and… Read More

November 20, 2011

Self-Regulation Reigns, for Now, on Consumer Data Privacy Issues

The online advertising industry is inching its way to more comprehensive policies regarding the collection of consumer data. Several announcements this month by different self-regulatory groups show that pressure from government agencies and consumer watchdog groups concerned about consumer privacy is taking effect . . . slowly but surely. The most recent pronouncement comes from… Read More

October 19, 2011

Inside the Privacy Event Keynoted By FTC Chair Leibowitz

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz delivered the keynote speech at a forum on Internet privacy on Oct. 11, 2011. He was part of a panel that discussed the protection of consumer data and the tracking of online consumer behavior. The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society also released a study the same… Read More

October 5, 2011

Is It a Real Breast Cancer Cause – Or ‘Pinkwashing’?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. And pink is everywhere – all over the shelves of retail stores like Wal-Mart and adorning the backs of NFL linemen. We’ve been trained to know that the color pink represents a supporter of breast cancer awareness or research. So sporting a pink ribbon, jersey, or band should demonstrate… Read More

September 28, 2011

FTC Is Asked to Crack Down on ‘Supercookies’ as Data Privacy Violation

The bastard stepchild of online behavioral advertising – the supercookie – is in the hot seat. Two members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the FTC on September 27 calling on the commission to look into the usage and impact of supercookies on consumers. Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.),… Read More

September 20, 2011

Payday Lenders Find Themselves in FTC’s Cross Hairs

Like pawnbrokers, payday lenders cater to people in a tight squeeze. That means they can, in turn, put the squeeze on their customers, charging annual percentage interest rates above 300 percent for their short-term unsecured loans. That also means they are a popular target of federal regulators who are concerned about vulnerable consumers. The FTC… Read More

September 12, 2011

Prepaid Phone Companies Dial a Wrong Number at the FCC

Companies marketing prepaid phone cards should be on the lookout: the Federal Communications Commission is threatening more-severe penalties for deceptive advertising. The prepaid phone card business is pretty profitable, with the industry raking in billions every year. Plastering phone cards with names like “Africa Magic” and “Hola Amigo,” prepaid calling card companies target immigrant populations,… Read More

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