The Do’s and Don’ts of Dot-Com Marketing

FTC guidelines not very helpful

Just because marketers are moving campaigns onto mobile devices, as well as Twitter and Facebook, doesn’t mean the government will give them a pass when it comes to making sure ad disclosures and disclaimers are clear and conspicuous.

But figuring it out could be a challenge. The long-awaited updates to the Federal Trade Commission’s Dot-Com Disclosures offer a lot of helpful advice, but add up to more “don’ts” than “do’s”—leaving it up to marketers to put the guidance into practice. “The FTC won’t relax enforcement just because the ad is in a constrained space. Marketers will need to figure it out,” said Linda Goldstein, a partner with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which represents advertisers.

Since the FTC released version 1.0 of the disclosures in 2000, screens on which ads (and disclosures) run have gotten smaller, which can inhibit the consumer’s ability to see the disclosure—rendering it potentially deceptive. “Disclosures should not be an add-on but something that is designed to be in every message and work across all devices,” said Tom Chernaik, CEO of

Illustrations: Bob Daly

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