Blog Entry February 2014

Tanks for nothing

At first, consumers thought it was their lucky day.  They had received text messages announcing they had won a $1,000 gift card from a major retailer.  But they ended up with their hopes in the tank – in this case, CPATank, Inc., and Eagle Web Assets, Inc., the latest defendants to settle FTC charges for sending deceptive unsolicited texts.  The law enforcement action offers interesting insights into affiliate marketing and the breadth of

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Court of Appeals upholds a win for consumers in the WinFixer case

The “Inc.” after a company’s name can provide certain legal protections, but let’s get one thing clear:  It’s not a shield that corporate officers can hide behind to avoid personal liability for violations of the FTC Act.  A decision by the U.S.

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Are your green claims clean? Knock on wood.

Not every building project starts with an ax-wielding guy in a flannel shirt yelling “tim-berrrr!”  Consumers have another choice these days:  plastic lumber, which is often used in decking, fences, outdoor furniture, etc.  Wisconsin-based N.E.W.

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A light bulb moment for marketers

When did a light bulb become the symbol of a good idea?  We don’t know, but a ruling in the FTC’s lawsuit against Lights of America – including a $21 million order mandating refunds for consumers and some bookmark-worthy notable quotes from the Court – should serve as a light bulb moment for marketers.

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Lock, stock, and peril

In old movies, ransom notes came in the form of pasted letters cut from newspapers.  There’s a new kind of ransom that could pose a substantial risk to your business.  Have you alerted your staff about how to protect one of your company’s most valuable assets?

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Keep it under your hat

Usually when someone says “keep it under your hat,” they’re asking you to keep information confidential.  But when the FTC staff says “keep it under your hat” – and the hat in question is made of wool – we mean the exact opposite.  To us, it’s a reminder to marketers that hats containing wool must have labels that clearly disclose what the product is made of.

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The best 30-second investment you’ll make all day

Familiar with Fantage?  If you have kids, they probably are.  It’s a MMORPG – a massively multiplayer online role-playing game – where millions of children customize avatars to play online games in a virtual world.  According to the FTC, there are a few more initials this MMORPG will want to be mindful of in the future:  the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.

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What’s this “mall tracking” I’ve been hearing about?

Consumers may not know it, but there are technologies out there that let retailers and others track their movements within and around stores and other attractions through their mobile devices.  Businesses can use the information to identify trends in consumer behavior, plan sales and promotions, and more efficiently staff their stores and structure check-out (although no matter how sophisticated the technology, we always manage to choose the slow-moving line).

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