Internet Marketing & Advertising Law
Ifrah Law’s Internet Advertising and Marketing practice focuses on all legal facets of internet and mobile marketing, eCommerce, telemarketing, electronic payment processing, and interactive gaming. Ifrah law represents online advertisers, affiliate networks, publishers, advertising agencies, payment processors, and other marketing solution providers in state and federal investigations and enforcement actions, private litigation instituted by self-regulatory agencies, consumer class actions, contract negotiations, and compliance matters. In addition, our firm represents business and individuals in payment processing relationships, including merchants in disputes with payment processors, ISOs and acquiring banks, MATCH and Terminated Merchant File listings, and payment processing agreements.
As experienced litigators defending cases instituted by such agencies as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and State Attorneys General, the lawyers on our team are uniquely positioned to counsel their clients outside of the courtroom on risk mitigation strategies, which involve a comprehensive review and audit of their business practices and routine advice on regulatory compliance, website disclosures, trademark and copyright protection, contract review and negotiation, and overall brand protection.
Our team has achieved a string of successes in state and federal litigation matters in which our clients have been charged with or accused of fraudulent business practices. These victories include successful resolution of FTC asset freeze cases, return of monies from government seizures of payment processor accounts, and dismissal of a State AG matter involving a multi-year investigation.
Ifrah Law is a result-oriented firm. The creative advice we provide to our clients focuses on long-term solutions to achieve sustainable growth of their business models.
Affiliate Summit East 2017, New York, NYRead more
Panama GB Summit, Panama City, PanamaRead more
IntegriShield (Webinar)Read more
Affiliate Summit West 2017, Las Vegas, NVRead more
Affiliate Summit East, New York Marriott Marquis, New York, NYRead more
Webinar - Clear Law InstituteRead more
Winning Big with a Celebrity Sweepstakes Endorsement
After developing a solid online promotions program over several years with Michelle Cohen advising on sweepstakes and contests, Michelle’s long-standing client, a digital wellness company, decided to energize its online efforts with a celebrity endorsement sweepstakes. The celebrity, a known health advocate and popular entertainer, partnered with our client to give away VIP ticket packages to his sold out shows in multiple cities.
Michelle crafted sweepstakes rules and reviewed promotional materials, including social media campaigns. The celebrity also used social media to organize in-person athletic meet-ups around the country, as part of his current touring schedule. This coast-to-coast campaign included sweepstakes at the on-site events. Michelle worked with our client on several aspects of its campaign, including social media messaging, drafting winner’s eligibility affidavits and ensuring compliance with state and federal sweepstakes laws, as well as social networks’ policies and requirements.
The result? Michelle’s client continues to develop exciting and clever online promotions that will engage their audience, while complying with applicable laws and regulations and maintaining positive relationships with key social networks.
Protecting an Advertiser from an Affiliate Marketer’s Actions
Sometimes, even a company’s best efforts to comply with the law can’t protect them from liability. This was the case for our client, an advertiser, which promoted its own e-cigarette offer. An internet-based affiliate marketer who marketed our client’s products sent an unsolicited text message to a consumer. Our client recognized the potential legal problems associated with the affiliate’s actions and immediately shut down the relationship. Nonetheless, the affiliate’s action exposed our client to liability in the form of a putative class action lawsuit that was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. This class action lawsuit, brought under the TCPA, had the potential to cost our client a significant amount of money.
Ifrah Law knew we needed to act quickly, before the case escalated into a class action that would be large enough to bankrupt our client. We were able to demonstrate that the third party vendor’s actions were not authorized or condoned by our client and therefore, we were able to resolve the matter for very little money, before ever answering the complaint. To avoid these types of problems in the future, we subsequently drafted strong contract and terms and conditions for our client’s third-party publishers, which would indemnify our client from future liability for its affiliate’s unauthorized actions.
No one likes being on the receiving end of an immunization shot, but many of us submit to a flu shot each fall or winter. David Latner, a patient of the Mount Sinai Health System’s West Park Medical facility, apparently found a single text from West Park reminding him about flu shots to be alarming… Read More
Your business booked a large charity event. However, the customer contact turns out to be a nightmare. She complains (during and after the event) that the service was slow, the food looked and tasted like a frozen meal, and the drinks were watered down. She even claims she was overcharged. You reviewed the situation and,… Read More
As Halloween has people thinking of ghosts and ghouls, creative plaintiffs’ attorneys have turned an arcane New Jersey law into a true source of fright for virtually anybody who offers services that are even potentially available within the Garden State. The law at issue is the New Jersey Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice… Read More
Does the federal government have the right to seize a domain name without notice? With growing frequency, the feds have seized the domain names of thousands of websites for alleged criminal wrongdoing. The latest example is the seizure earlier this week of 67 website domain names for the alleged illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit… Read More
On March 15, 2016, national retailer Lord & Taylor agreed to settle FTC charges that it “deceived consumers by paying for native advertisements.” The settlement is the first of its kind following the December 2015 guidance memorandum, Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses, issued by the FTC. Under the terms of the settlement, Lord &… Read More
In 2015, Amazon filed suit against over 1,000 unnamed individuals for allegedly offering to sell fake online reviews (positive or negative) on Fiverr.com (“Fiverr”). The unnamed defendants offer to provide 5-star reviews and some defendants even encourage sellers to provide their own text to use in the review. In order to avoid detection, defendants… Read More
Exploiting consumers and exploiting consumer data were popular themes in the FTC’s October 30th workshop on lead generation, “Follow the Lead.” The day-long workshop explored the mechanics of lead generation and its role in the online marketplace. With a focus on the lending and education spaces, panelists discussed the many layers of marketing involved… Read More
Car dealerships are notorious for running loud, flashy ads with too-good-to-be-true offers for outrageous deals to buy or lease cars. Some dealerships downplay or even hide the seemingly endless list of qualifications on those offers which render many potential buyers ineligible for the deals, much to the irritation of misled consumers. The FTC has… Read More
As online gaming companies compete for business, they are offering customers increasingly large incentives to play on their websites, often in the form of deposit bonuses. These deposit bonuses allow players to play with the bonus money as if it’s cash and keep the winnings (although players cannot cash out the bonus itself). However,… Read More
In e-commerce, user reviews can make or break a business. Review sites such as Yelp are a double edged sword for merchants and service providers: on one hand satisfied customers can generate buzz about the company and bring in new customers, and on the other hand dissatisfied customers can use it as a very… Read More
Photo at vi.wikipedia.org A recent legal case in the UK between singer Rihanna and fashion retailer Topshop has highlighted differences between publicity rights in the UK and some US jurisdictions. Rihanna sued Topshop for its sale of a t-shirt bearing a large photograph of her. Rihanna had not approved or endorsed the sale of the t-shirt;… Read More
Health cleanses to lose unwanted weight in a matter of weeks! Images of beautiful jewelry to be purchased at great prices that you can even resell! Personalized handbags made to order! If you have a Facebook account, it is more than likely you have seen many of these and similar posts by “friends” in… Read More
Last week, without much attention, four new regulations affecting online gaming operations in New Jersey became effective under the authority of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. The rules include changes to directives on funding from social games, requirements for exclusivity, and operator server locations. However, the fourth rule is an addition which deals specifically… Read More
Ifrah Law is a proud member the Brand Activation Association (“BAA”). This week, we attended the BAA’s 36th annual BAA Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. Just as “Mad Men” reflects the 1960’s era advertising business, this year’s BAA conference demonstrated this generation’s marketing dynamic – where mobile is key, privacy concerns abound, and the… Read More
Online diploma mills, which require little or no coursework to complete a degree have recently garnered much attention within the online education realm. Websites which offer questionable diplomas for hundreds of dollars target vulnerable consumers seeking a degree to improve their life prospects, while simultaneously casting a shadow over legitimate online educational institutions which… Read More
The fact is that social media has connected us to each other in ways which seemed unimaginable only a few decades ago. Take for example the progression of social activism through online fundraising. Over the course of two short months the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (“IBC”) went viral with millions of videos being posted by… Read More
In August, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released a staff report concerning mobile shopping applications (“apps”). FTC staff reviewed some of the most popular apps consumers utilize to comparison shop, collect and redeem deals and discounts, and pay in-store with their mobile devices. This new report focused on shopping apps offering price comparison, special… Read More
In this health-conscious age, consumers are always on the lookout for new products which will improve wellness and quality of life. Marketers attuned to this trend may be tempted to increase sales by extolling the virtues of their products, even if health claims are unsubstantiated by scientific testing. A recent FTC case, however, demonstrates… Read More
In what could become the largest ever settlement in a case brought in the 22 year history of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), Capital One and three collection agencies agreed to pay over $75 million into a settlement fund to settle a consolidated class action lawsuit alleging that the companies used an automatic telephone… Read More
In an important decision in a federal court case in New Jersey, In Re Nickelodeon Privacy Litigation, Google and Viacom obtained a dismissal of a claim against them under the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”). The decision narrows the scope of who can be liable under the VPPA and what information is within the… Read More
Recently, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office announced that it reached a settlement with Snapchat, Inc. over alleged deceptive trade practices in violation of Maryland law and violations of federal laws that are intended to protect children’s online privacy. This is another reminder that state attorneys general’s offices will continue to be vigilant in addressing consumer… Read More
We’ve all heard the statistics showing obesity rates rising in the U.S. year after year. Most of us are well aware of the billion dollar diet and weight-loss supplement industry to which millions turn with the hope of finding that one “miracle pill” to help them lose that stubborn belly fat or get rid of… Read More
Sprint Gets a Wallop of a Reminder – Company-Specific Do Not Call Lists Still Matter – $7.5 Million Record Do Not Call Consent Decree
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced a consent decree with Sprint Corporation for federal do not call violations. Specifically, under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will make a $7.5 million “voluntary contribution” to the United States Treasury. This payment represents the largest do not call settlement reached by the FCC. Sprint also agreed… Read More
In a recent case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the district court held that the plaintiff’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim should be dismissed. The court ruled that the plaintiff gave prior express consent when she agreed to the terms of her health insurance plan, which stated that… Read More
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) continues to make significant progress with its implementation of the New generic Top–Level Domain (gTLD) Program. Under the new program, ICANN has added more than 250 new gTLDs to the Domain Name System (DNS) and could add hundreds more in the next several years. ICANN is… Read More
FDA Says Product Containing No Tobacco is a “Tobacco Product” – FDA Expands Authority to Include E-Puffing
In an effort that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials say was motivated by the (Big Brother?) desire “to correct a misperception by consumers that tobacco products not regulated by FDA are safe alternatives to currently regulated tobacco products,” the FDA released proposed regulations this morning that would regulate the rapidly growing e-cigarette market. (The… Read More
Last week the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) charged the operators of Jerk.com with harvesting personal information from Facebook to create profiles for more than an estimated 73 million people, where they could be labeled a “Jerk” or “not a Jerk.” In the complaint, the FTC charged the defendants, Jerk, LLC and the operator of the… Read More
Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing, fax marketing, and prerecorded/auto-dialed phone calls. Recently, there has been an explosion in TCPA litigation, including class action litigation. In response, several parties have asked the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to clarify certain of the agency’s TCPA rules to provide relief… Read More
Advertisements for electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” are increasingly drawing scrutiny from consumer advocates and public health groups who are calling for the federal government to regulate these advertisements in the same manner that traditional cigarette advertisements are regulated. The e-cigarette industry is growing at a rapid pace, particularly among younger people. Last year, the industry… Read More
A California court ruled earlier this month that Overstock must pay a roughly $6.8 million penalty to settle claims that the retailer “routinely and systematically” made false and misleading claims about the prices of its products on its website. If upheld, this ruling could have significant effects on how companies use price comparisons in advertisements… Read More
New year, new resolutions. Yesterday, the FTC announced a resolution of its own: to undertake a nationwide enforcement effort to protect consumers against deceptive weight loss claims. Dubbed “Operation Failed Resolution,” the FTC’s latest enforcement effort seeks to protect consumers who face a barrage of “opportunistic marketers” promising quick ways to shed pounds. According to… Read More
ZeroAccess is one of the world’s largest botnets – a network of computers infected with malware to trigger online fraud. Recently, after having eluded investigators for months, ZeroAccess was disrupted by Microsoft and law enforcement agencies. Earlier this month, armed with a court order and law enforcement help overseas, Microsoft took steps to cut off… Read More
The FTC held a workshop on Wednesday to examine the blurring lines of advertisements and content in digital media today. Executives from a myriad of professions gathered to discuss how sponsored content in digital publications takes form and affects the consumer. Native advertising, or sponsored content, is the practice of masking advertising to look like… Read More
While Google is already subject to commitments it made to the FTC regarding the requirement to afford advertisers non-discriminatory access to its search engine, the FTC’s latest guidance makes clear that Google and other search engines must also maintain clear disclosures to the public about sponsored content in search results. On June 24, 2013, in… Read More
Ignorance of the law is no excuse; nor is (willful) ignorance of a business partner’s illegal activities. That’s a lesson to be learned from a recent amended complaint filed by the FTC which named a payment processor in its complaint against a telemarketer that allegedly engaged in a scam concerning credit card interest rate reduction…. Read More
Some affiliate marketers have recently gotten involved in the risky world of online trading. Online trading, particularly the trading of binary options, has become an attractive alternative for some affiliate marketers to traditional forms of online marketing. However, those companies that do get involved in this market must be aware of the presence of the… Read More
On May 6, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which allows states to collect sales tax on online purchases, whether or not the online retailer has a physical presence in the state. If this bill becomes law, it would change the structure that has been in place since the 1992 Supreme Court… Read More
This week, the FTC released updated guidance to its 2000 “Dot Com Disclosures,” a guide covering disclosures in online advertising. The online world has certainly changed in 13 years, and the new guidelines, available here, cover advances in online advertising, including mobile advertising. One central theme still prevails: existing consumer protection laws and rules apply no… Read More