Native Ad Workshop Leaves FTC Perplexed

Next enforcement steps unclear

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A day-long examination of native advertising left regulators with no clear direction about how to police what has become digital media's hottest ad format.

The Federal Trade Commission, which organized the workshop, has been bringing cases against ads masquerading as editorial content since 1917 (the first case was against a newspaper ad for an electric vacuum cleaner). But digital media has put what the FTC once termed "masquer-ads" on steroids.

Worried that consumers might be confused by native ads, the FTC was looking to the workshop to help figure out if the agency should issue additional guidance to help advertisers and publishers steer clear of enforcement action.

But after hearing from all parts of the industry, from academicians to publishers and ad networks, FTC officials said they would have to think about the next steps.



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