74 Marketing Trends found for Regulation / USA

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'Native Marketing' Deception Alarms FTC

Bottom Line Trend: The Federal Trade Commission has warned advertisers it will vigorously enforce its rules controlling Native Advertising.

So-called 'Native Advertising' - ads that appear in online and offline publications, masquerading as news stories or editorial features - have received a stern warning from US regulatory body, the Federal Trade Commission. Native advertising has recently grown more aggressive, especially online. The practice enables brands to target specific audiences and individuals, also to get ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q4 2013 onward]

... instant feedback when consumers react to what has been displayed. 

There's nothing new about such practices. Three or four decades ago door-to-door salesmen portrayed themselves as opinion pollsters; these days web pages masquerade as unbiased magazine articles. Even when such information is openly labelled as advertising, consumers are frequently misled. 

Addressing several hundred advertisers, academics and media executives at a conference on Native Advertising earlier this week, FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez conceded that "the delivery of relevant messages and cultivating user engagement are important goals. That is the point of advertising.”

FTC officials said recent surveys of online publishers revealed that 73% offer native advertising opportunities on their sites, while an additional 17% are considering doing so this year.

Some 41% of brands and one-third of advertising agencies currently use such methods, the FTC reports.

According to Chris Laird, marketing director for brand operations at Procter & Gamble, sponsored content enables the company to “immediately measure the impact it is having on our business.”

Vigorous discussion during the conference made it clear that advertisers and marketers are loath to label an “advertisement” as such.

Says Robert Weissman, president of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen: "The word ‘advertisement’ tells people what is being done to them. The whole point of the word ‘sponsored’ is to avoid calling it what it is."

However, David J Franklyn, University of San Francisco law school professor, said preliminary results from his research showed that as many as 35% of the consumers in groups he has studied could not identify an advertisement even when it said “advertisement” on it.

While roughly half of the survey sample indicated they did not know what the word “sponsored” meant.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: NYT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=6222

US Government Heeds 'Native Advertising' Concerns

Bottom Line Trend: So-called 'native advertising' looks to be the marketing industry's 'Next Big Thing'.

The fact that the US government is about to take an active interest in 'Native Advertising' suggests that this melange of ads with editorial content is likely to face a controversial future. This week the first rumblings of government interest [and possible intervention] emerged when the Federal Trade Commission announced it will host a workshop on native ads in Washington DC on December 4. The event will invite representatives from the publishing and advertising industries, as well as ... 

[Estimated timeframe:Q4 2013 onward]

... consumer advocates and industry organisations.

Entitled "Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content?”, the workshop will examine:

  • The ways that native ads are presented to consumers 
  • Consumers understanding of native ads
  • Distinguishing native ads from editorial content. 

Some industry organizations have already acted to create self-regulatory frameworks governing native ads.

In October, the American Society of Magazine Editors released an updated version of its editorial guidelines with new suggestions for best practices related to native advertising.

Among many recommendations, the guidelines advise that native ads “should not use type fonts and graphics resembling those used for editorial content and should be visually separated from editorial content.”

Read the original unabridged MediaPost.com article.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: MediaPost.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=6208

Technology Set to Replace Online Self-Regulation

Bottom Line: Self-regulation of America's online advertising industry has failed, with advertisers and agencies dependent on technology in the future.

According to Wall Street Journal correpondent John Bussey, the USA's $37 billion online advertising industry has failed miserably in its self-regulatory effort to prevent tracking and enforce personal privacy policies. Moreover, predicts Mr Bussey, it will be the free market, not the US government, that tightens the future screws on adland. Tracking is big business - and not only in the USA - where in 2012 internet ad revenues soared to ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q3 2013 onward]

... $37 billion according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The Federal Trade Commission and consumer groups in the USA - along with the European Commission and national regulatory authorities elsewhere on the globe - have long sought a do-not-track protocol that will guard privacy.

This would give internet users a one-click option to prevent marketing firms and websites from placing cookies on their computers.

But after two years of negotiation and missed deadlines, the effort to find a solution through industry self-regulation collapsed earlier this summer. 

Trade groups such as the US Direct Marketing Association, claim that the privacy issue has already been addressed, citing the Ad Choices icon that appears on internet ads which, if clicked, transfers the user to a site where he/she can opt out of receiving behavioural advertising.

Not everyone is convinced by the DMA's claim. "Technology is going to overtake this process if the process doesn't come up with a solution that allows consumers to opt out of collection of information by third parties," says Jon Leibowitz, who stepped down as head of the Federal Trade Commission this year.

Meantime, browsers such as Apple's Safari already have cookie-blocking capability. It's likely to get refined as consumers and regulators look for better solutions.

And Mozilla's Firefox is working on a more comprehensive default blocking option, although Google's Chrome has [predictably] been slower to join the party.

Read the original unabridged WSJ.com article.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=6156

FTC Changes Future Face of Internet Search

Bottom Line: A US federal regulator has instructed all major search engines to clearly distinguish between search results, ads and other paid content.

The future face of internet search results is set for change after America's Federal Trade Commission [FTC] this week rapped the knuckles of US-based search engines over the blurred dividing line that currently separates bona fide search results from advertisements and paid-for content. Included in the order were twenty-plus major search providers, among them ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2013 onward]

... Google, Yahoo and Bing, plus seventeen specialised search sites that focus on travel, shopping and local businesses.

According to FTC associate director for advertising practices Mary K Engle, the commission has noticed a decline in compliance with its 2002 guidelines.

Says Ms Engle: “To avoid the potential for deception, consumers should be able to easily distinguish a natural search result from advertising that a search engine delivers.”

Engle cites a 2012 study by search strategies specialist SEOBook, which found that “nearly half of searchers did not recognize top ads as distinct from natural search results.” [Top ads are those that appear immediately above the list of search results].

In the UK oversight of advertising masquerading as search results is the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority [ASA] whose Code of Advertising Practice [CAP] states:

"The CAP Code covers internet ads in paid-for space, like banner ads, pop-ups and paid search results. The extended remit means that the same standards apply to all ads and marketing communications on companies’ own websites and in other non-paid-for space online under their control, like advertiser-controlled pages on Facebook or Twitter."

Read the original unarbridged NYTimes.com article.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: NYTimes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=6127

EU Warns Citizens of US Privacy Invasion Threat

Bottom Line: A study commissioned by the European Union warns that US authorities could use a Federal Act to access European users' data stored on US-based social media sites.

Although the US Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Amendments Act [FISA], renewed late last month, does not apply outside the USA, the European Union has warned its citizens that US authorities could use the Act to access European users' data stored on US-based servers - for example Facebook and other US-located social media sites. A study commissioned by the EU found that ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2013 onward]

... EU citizens' data stored on US servers is not protected from access by a third party.

According to a report commissioned by the EU and carried out by the Centre for European Policy Studies, America's so-called Patriot Act gives US authorities the legal right to access foreign citizens' data stored within US borders.

Commenting on the report, European Parliament member Jan Philipp Albrecht insists that "this study is absolutely not about generating panic." 

According to Mr Albrecht, most users don't even know where their data is stored. 

"It's a simple fact that the US data protection law only applies to US citizens." "But there are special laws that target the surveillance of non-US citizens", he added.

"This happens when sensitive data from big companies, like Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook, are made available to US authorities for investigations." 

Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner for the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein is also concerned at the power wielded by the US over EU citizens' data.

Mr Weichert has been following the implications of this development closely for more than two years, while pushing Facebook to allow its users to remain anonymous.

"The long arm of US law stretches as far as Europe," he said.

Read the original unabridged Deutche Welle article.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: DW.de
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=6016

Politicos Bid to Bring the Internet Under UN Control

Bottom Line: Expect intense diplomatic and corporate infighting over new proposals to rewrite telecom rules that would effectively transfer control of the global internet to the United Nations.

The mother of all diplomatic battles is predicted this December when delegates gather in Dubai to meet under the aegis of of the International Telecommunications Union [ITU], an obscure agency of the United Nations responsible for telephony technical standards worldwide. Currently the internet is effectively (if unofficially) under the control of US government agencies - a situation opposed by Russia, China and other nations that back a move to ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q4 2012 onward]

... place the internet under the authority of the ITU.

The USA, however, argues that placing the internet under UN control would undermine the freewheeling nature of cyberspace, which promotes open commerce and free expression, and could give a green light for some countries to crack down on dissidents.

Objectors to this seismic change claim that some authoritarian states will back the move, and that most major Western nations will oppose it. If that's the case when it comes to the final vote, the balance of influence will lie in the hands of delegates from the developing world.

According to James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies: "The most likely outcome is a tie, and if that happens there won't be any dramatic changes, although that could change if the developing countries make a big push."

Mr Lewis conceded, however, that "there is a lot of discontent with how the internet is governed and the US will have to deal with that at some point".

He accepted that there is still an overwhelming perception that the US owns and manages the internet. Opponents, he says, "have a powerful argument" to create a global authority to manage the internet. He added: "We need to find some way to accommodate national laws in a way that doesn't sacrifice human rights."

Terry Kramer, the special US envoy for the talks, has outlined Washington's position opposing proposals by Russia, China and others to expand the ITU's authority to regulate the internet.

Speaking at a recent forum Kramer opined: "The internet has grown precisely because it has not been micro-managed or owned by any government or multinational organisation. There is no internet central office. Its openness and decentralisation are its strengths."

Read the original unabridged Times of India article.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: IndiaTimes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5957

US Government Moves to Enforce Mobile Privacy

Bottom Line: A report issued today by the US Government gives privacy advocates more muscle to lobby for new laws that could limit the potential of mobile advertising.

Based on the report's conclusions, the US General Accountability Office [GAO] calls on government officials to liaise with industry stakeholders to develop a set of consumer privacy guidelines. Paramount among these recommendations would be a ban on ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2013 onward ]

... mobile companies sharing consumers' location information without their permission.

Consumers have flocked to location-based mobile apps that offer services for everything from driving directions to finding the nearest burger bar.

But according to the GAO's report, a majority of consumers are unaware that many mobile app developers and wireless carriers also share or sell their mobile tracking data to third parties.

The report also notes that despite recommendations by industry associations and privacy advocates for formal mobile industry guidelines, these have not been consistently implemented.

The report was commissioned by Senator Al Franken [Democrat-Minnesota], chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law, following a number of hearings on mobile privacy issues.

The US initiative parallels that already under way in the European Union.

Read the original unabridged AdWeek article.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: AdWeek.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5946

FBI Warns Marketers, Media Owners, Others of Impending Web Threat

Bottom Line: The FBI warned on 23 April that hundreds of thousands of computer users could lose access to the internet come July 9 unless they disinfect and remove a malware Trojan from their computers.

Businesses and individuals are advised by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to check for and, if necessary, disinfect their computers to remove a malware Trojan dubbed DNS Changer. This can infect both Windows and Mac systems, although Linux users are safe, as are ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2012 onward]

... those using iPhones, iPads, Android devices and other systems.

The DNS Changer Working Group [DCWG], an ad hoc group of IT experts, includes members from organizations such as Georgia Tech, Internet Systems Consortium, Mandiant, National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, Neustar, Spamhaus, Team Cymru, Trend Micro, and the University of Alabama.

DNS Changer is a piece of malware discovered back in 2007 and is estimated to have covertly infected millions of computer worldwide.

It intercepts websites visited by the web browser, redirecting the users from the site they had chosen to visit to servers under the control of cybercriminals. These servers were then used to push web ads to the user, earning the malware miscreants millions of dollars in the process.

Last year, however, the FBI, working in conjunction with the Estonian police, seized the servers used by the cybercriminals and broke up the crime ring behind the operations.

But the servers used by the criminals were kept online so as to not disrupt the web activities of those infected - although they no longer serve up ads.

Running these web servers isn’t cheap, and so the plug will be pulled on them come July 2012. However, because systems infected with DNS Changer have had key settings changed in order to redirect their web browsing through these servers, once the latter go offline, the internet will become unavailable for anyone using an infected system.

Back in January of this year the DCWG estimated that some 450,000 systems were still infected with DNS Changer.

To check if your system has been violated and infected with DNS Changer, click here [no software will be downloaded to perform the check].

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Forbes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5824

America's FTC Roots for Extended Consumer Privacy Law

Bottom Line: The Federal Trade Commission, the body responsible for protecting US citizens' privacy, has called for legislation to give them access to information held by data brokers - emulating the public's extant right to review data held by credit agencies.

The FTC recommendation coincided with the publication of the final version of a privacy-policy framework put forward for comment in December 2010. The latest variant, however, fails to emulate the initial version which also called on personal data traffickers to create a universal "do not track" mechanism to protect online privacy and stops short of urging Congress to specific  actions. Instead FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz  ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2012 onward]

... observed that self-regulation "appears to be working towards" a more draconian end: a do-not-track option for consumers, although he suggested congressional interest offered an extra incentive.

Says Leibowitz: "We are confident that consumers will have an easy-to-use and effective 'do not track' option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don't."

The latest version of the Firefox browser already allows users to switch-off browsing histories and tell websites "I do not want to be tracked."

Reports Philly.com: "The FTC perceives there to be a need for broad privacy legislation and specific protections to address problems such as lax data security and the activities of data brokers - companies that, without the consent or even knowledge of most consumers, collect and traffic in the data we leave behind as we travel through virtual and brick-and-mortar worlds."

The FTC report recommends that companies be held responsible for what it called "privacy by design," defined as practices that "build in privacy at every stage of product development."

Like the new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights announced by President Barack Obama last month, the FTC's framework focuses on the transparency of information-handling practices and on consumer expectations that arise from the context in which personal information is requested.

Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel at Consumers Union, said expectations about privacy were routinely confounded by the data-brokerage industry, in which little-known companies such as Axciom collect and trade data about consumers. Information from brokers can be used directly for marketing or combined with data from other sources to build more detailed profiles of individual consumers.

To quote Rusu: "The FTC is basically saying it's really problematic that entities that have no real relationship with consumers are amassing huge amounts of information about them. The consumer doesn't have any way of controlling that information, or even knowing that it exists or what it's being used for."

Consumers' expectations are also at the heart of a lawsuit against Google filed in Philadelphia last week. The suit contends that people who use Google's online services or who own mobile devices based on its Android operating system are being harmed by a new, unified privacy policy that Google implemented on March 1.

The suit says Google seeks to boost its online advertising revenue by mingling data from the dozens of free services it offers, such as its search engine, Gmail, and YouTube.

The suit argues: "Google's new privacy policy is nothing more than Google's effort to garner a larger market share of advertising revenue by offering targeted advertising capabilities that compete with or surpass those offered by social networks, such as Facebook, where all of a consumer's personal information is available in one site."

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the suit, saying the company [famed motto: "Don't be evil"] had not yet had time to review it. But Google, which says it has made few changes in its underlying data-handling practices, has criticized other class actions prompted by its unified policy.

"We believe these cases are without merit, and we intend to defend them vigorously," Google said in response to the earlier suits.

"Our updated privacy policy makes our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users. We undertook the most extensive notification effort in Google's history, and we're continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Philly.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5803

US Runs Online Privacy Bill Up Flagpole - Will Global Adland Salute?

Bottom Line: In what could become a blueprint for other nations,  the US Department of Commerce is proposing a "privacy bill of rights" that will give citizens greater control over their online data.

After a two-year investigation into privacy and consumer data online, US Department of Commerce Secretary John Bryson yesterday (23-Feb-12) joined National Economic Council director Gene Sperling and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz for the unveiling of an online Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights at an event at the White House. The Secretary spoke about the need to protect consumers and encourage the growth of responsible online commerce. The Wall Street Journal predicts the initiative is likely to trigger ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2012 onward]

... "a long battle as to how exactly the new policies will take shape".

Secretary Bryson, however, was in even-handed mode, focusing on the need to protect consumers and encourage the growth of responsible online commerce. "Millions of Americans", he said, "shop, sell, bank, learn, talk and work online. Online retail sales are now nearing $200 billion annually in the US ... yet we have all seen stories of consumer data being lost, compromised, or stolen."

Continued Bryson: "Privacy and trust online has never been more important to both businesses and consumers. More and more consumers are concerned about their information being used only as intended."

The proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights will help protect consumers’ personal data, provide businesses with better guidance on how to meet consumers’ privacy expectations, and ensure that the Internet remains a strong platform for commerce, innovation, and growth. It includes seven basic protections that consumers should expect from companies:

  1. Individual control in what kinds of data companies collect.
  2. Transparency in how those companies plan to use that data.
  3. Respect for the context in which that data is provided and disclosed.
  4. Secure and responsible handling of that data.
  5. Ability of consumers to access and ensure the accuracy of their own data.
  6. Reasonable limits on the personal data that online companies try to collect and retain.
  7. And accountability for companies to have strong privacy measures in place at all times.

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will convene businesses, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to work toward consensus on codes of conduct based on this blueprint. 

The Commerce Department also envisions that the privacy blueprint will be of great interest internationally. According to Bryson: "We plan to support broad cooperation and consensus on this issue. After all, e-commerce is global by its nature. Overall, this as an important step towards fostering a culture of trust and respect for privacy among America’s businesses and consumers."  

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5779

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