75 Marketing Trends found for Regulation / USA

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Web Privacy: America's IT Titans to Come Clean Over Targeted Ads

Trialling what many privacy campaigners hope will become the online ad industry's long-awaited self-policing system, a group of major marketers - among them AT&T, American Express and Microsoft - have acted to fend-off the increasingly vocal regulation lobby in Washington DC. And finally concede greater control to consumers as to how they are targeted by advertisers. The system, branded Better Advertising, will place an icon (called the "power eye") in the upper-right corner of the ads. Surfers who mouse-over the icon get a summary of all the data that was used to target the ad, plus the choice of opting-out of future targeting by those companies. The system is one of several competing for ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

... endorsement by a coalition of organizations representing the ad industry, as well as the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which has been tasked by the industry and regulators to come up with a system of disclosure for consumers.

Several online ad vendors also have proposals before the coalition, but insiders say Better Advertising, founded by former About.com chief Scott Meyer, is close to winning the contest. Not least because of its endorsement by all the major ad holding companies: WPP Group, Havas, Publicis Groupe, Omnicom Group and Interpublic.

Among those trialling the system this week are Interpublic's audience-buying platform Cadreon, Publicis' Vivaki and WPP's MEC Interaction.

Says the latter's coo John Montgomery: "Ultimately the data belongs to the consumer - we are being allowed to use it. If the consumer is uncomfortable, then they will not allow it to be used that way."

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

Source: AdAge.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5276

FCC Move to Reclassify Broadband Cheered by Neutralists, Hissed by Big Media


In a predictable polarization of interests, the opposing armies of internet freedom-fighters and Big Media, have formed battle lines to attack/defend the Federal Communications Commission's decision to "consider" reclassifying broadband access as a Title 2 telecoms service. "Consider," mind - not actually do so - an option that just conceivably might - with a following wind - possibly lead to controlling Big Media's God-granted right to maximize the moolah it screws out of US consumers. Among those manning the trenches in support of the FCC is ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 - onward]

... Senator Jay Rockefeller (Democrat-West Virginia), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation whose controversial battle-cry is that: "We need to develop [long term] consensus to update the law, further safeguard consumers, and spur universal broadband deployment."

In the facing trench are Republican stalwarts, Representative Cliff Stearns (Florida) and Representative Joe Barton (Texas) who wrote a joint letter to Democratic House leaders requesting a hearing "on the legal validity and policy consequences" of the plan - which they describe as a proposal "to regulate the internet."

Adds the duo: "With 95 percent of the country having access to broadband, and 200 million subscribers and counting, we do not see any urgency to legislate." 

The FCC proposes three alternative possibilities ...

  • To continue to treat broadband as an information service subject to Title I of the Communications Act [the staus quo].
  • To reclassify broadband as a Title II "telecommunications service."
  • The third alternative - which draws on a plan put forward last month by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski - is to reclassify broadband access as Title II while agreeing to forbear from many of the regulations applicable to telephone companies, including ones related to pricing.

Genachowski is pushing the latter proposal, the so-called "third way," as an avenue to "continue the same light-touch approach to broadband access policy that the agency has pursued for the past decade."

He believes - as do other supporters - that the third-way approach will restore the FCC's ability to enact neutrality regulations that would ban internet service providers from either degrading or prioritizing traffic.

It's not a view shared by AT&T senior evp Jim Cicconi, who called the FCC's decision "troubling and, in many respects, unsettling,"

He explains: "The internet is commonly defined as 'a network of networks,' and the FCC proposes to regulate broadband networks virtually end to end under a regulatory structure devised in 1934 for monopoly telephone networks. This is impossible to justify on either a policy or legal basis, and we remain confident that if the FCC persists in its course - and we truly hope it does not - the courts will surely overturn their action."

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

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Source: MediaPost.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5274

FCC's Oversight of High-Speed Internet Could Cost Over $62 Billion, Attack Dogs Warn

Big Media - the likes of AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Cox, NewsCorp, Time Warner Cable and T-Mobile - has launched a concerted scare campaign in a bid to scupper oversight of America's planned high-speed broadband system by the Federal Communications Commission. The opening salvo was fired by a report co-authored by the seemingly independent New York University Law School with an outfit called Entropy Economics - whose president Bret Swanson  is a former senior fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation.  This organization, by strange coincidence,  numbers among its membership such august enterprises as AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Cox, NewsCorp, Time Warner and T-Mobile. The report is silent as to these relationships ... although it atones for this with some strident scarifying ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 - 2015]

... as Business Week reports: "Proposed regulation of high-speed Internet service providers by the U.S. government could cost the economy at least $62 billion annually over the next five years and eliminate 502,000 jobs, according to the study released this week by New York University Law School.

"Broadband providers and related industries may cut their investments by 10 percent to 30 percent from 2010 to 2015 in response to additional regulation. At 30 percent, the economy might sustain an $80 billion hit, according to Charles Davidson, director of the law school's Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute, which released the report on June 16.

If the FCC ogre intervenes in the sacred rite of screwing the consumer, darkly warns Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics who co-authored the study with Davidson, "there will be follow-on effects in the whole ecosystem. A diminution of investment by the big infrastructure companies will reduce network capacity, new services, and investment by all the ecosystem companies," such as application providers and device manufacturers."

Certain of the report's paymasters fear the FCC may strive to lower the price of high-speed Internet access for consumers. Business Week refers to a report dated May 28 in which Sanford C Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett notes that around one-third of Americans can't afford broadband access, which the new regulation could change.

His report kicks-off with the aphorism: "The road to Hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions."

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Source: BusinessWeek.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5270

US Lawmakers and the Internet - Will the Debate Result in Access Charges?

The internet, its use and access is at the core of an increasingly passionate debate in Washington DC. Its eventual outcome could change how millions of Americans use the web in future. At the heart of this debate is the principle of 'net neutrality' - the concept that consumers should have a right to access any website on the internet, without discrimination or influence from their internet service provider. A concept that is emphatically not to the liking of Comcast and other members of the Big Media caucus ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

... as was demonstrated when a Washington DC court recently ruled in favor of Comcast over the Federal Communications Commission, determining that the latter had no power to prohibit the company from blocking peer-to-peer file sharing sites.

The FCC argues that Comcast's move threatens the net's neutrality - a stance that has the support of a number of human rights and consumer organizations. Speaking for consumers, Heather Reed, a campaigning mother from Cypress, Texas opines: "I think we're regulated enough [by ISPs] on what we can and can't do. What we can and can't say. The internet has always been something you could look at what you wanted, when you wanted."

Ms Reed believes the web really is “all right there” in the hands of consumers. Likewise, keeping it firmly in the hands of consumers empowers them to choose among products and services in a fast-changing and competitive free market.

The FCC's number one goal, she says, should be "to do no harm". And that credo should be the Commission's prime concern when it comes to crafting America's National Broadband Plan and examining proposed rules governing internet management.

Assuming the DC court's ruling in favor of Comcast isn't challeged by a higher jurisdictive body, the FCC lacks authority to regulate internet service providers - a situation that can only be rectified by lawmakers.

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

Source: KFVS.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5266

Online Location-Tracking Atracts Attention of US Lawmakers

The bushfire growth of sophisticated smartphone technologies and other gadgets that track their owners' whereabouts and target them with location-based ads, is fazing an increasing number of US lawmakers. Among them is Representative Rick Boucher (Democrat, Virginia) - the godfather of draft privacy legislation seeking to compel personal data-collecting online companies to disclose that fact and request the subject's permission. Boucher also wants that requirement to apply to online location-tracking - the use of which has soared during the past year, driven by the growth of high-speed wireless networks and the popularity of mobile devices fitted with global positioning chips that pinpoint a user's location. Boucher argues that ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

"Individuals, I think, would want to be able to have the highest level of control over how companies can track their physical locations."

Most tracking companies, however, hold their hands aloft in pious indignation, declaring that whilst others might transgress, their own tactics are beyond reproach.

"If you want to do anything specifically with location-based services, you have to ask permission each and every session," insists Phuc Truong, managing director of Mobext, a mobile-marketing business owned by Vincent Bolloré's agency holding company Havas, whose clientele includes BarclaysDanone, Hyundai-Kia, Israel Tourism, Pepe JeansReckitt Benckiser, and Symantec.

But the ethics are blurred. Carnegie Mellon University earlier this year carried out a study which established that one-third of the 89 location-based applications it examined lacked a privacy policy. And other apps failed to clearly disclose what kind of data they kept or shared with others.

Another study this spring at the University of California's Berkeley campus found that most of the mobile-phone applications using a location program, store data on users' whereabouts indefinitely, but fail to disclose how they use it.

In view of these findings, it seems Representative Boucher has due cause for concern and it's likely that location privacy will soon be enshrined on the statute books.

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=5258

US Consumer Groups Demand Tough New Laws to Control Wall Street

US consumer groups are not known for resting on their laurels. They are currently up in arms at the Senate bill, passed in May, that creates a powerful, independent new agency within the Federal Reserve to protect borrowers from abuses by lenders. This partially conflicts with a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives in December 2009. The latter would create a stand-alone agency with much the same autonomy, though certain groups are exempted from oversight, notably auto dealers and real estate brokers. Consumer advocates, unenthused at becoming the meat in this Congressional double-decker sandwich, are demanding that ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

... "the final legislation can really be strengthened even more". Those are the words of Nancy Zirkin, evp of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a member of Americans for Financial Reform.

She added: "The recent passage of Wall Street reform was a historic event and a victory for ordinary working Americans against the abuses of the big banks on Wall Street." But there's a "but" ... as Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, a leading advocate for a consumer watchdog, points out.

While praising the Senate and House measures, she stressed that "neither bill is perfect."

"Lawmakers need to resist efforts to remove certain groups from new consumer regulations and must ensure that the new agency can enforce the rules it writes, including the ability to partner with state attorneys general.

"If we get a strong agency, [it] will make a real difference for families by making credit contracts comprehensible again, and by weeding out the tricks and traps that have distorted the true cost of credit and the risks associated with many credit products."

The vast market for financial derivatives is another contentious legislative issue. A key provision in the Senate bill would force big banks to spin off their lucrative swaps desks. The provision, sponsored by Senator Blanche Lincoln (Democrat-Arkansas), is not in the House legislation, and has faced opposition from administration officials, top lawmakers from both parties and Wall Street.

Consumer groups, however, endorse the senator's effort to separate risky derivatives trading from federally insured banks.

The association between retail and investment banking "was, in our view, a major contributor to what went wrong in our financial system - that vast risks involved in multitrillion-dollar derivatives books were embedded within larger financial institutions. From the perspective of the public interest, is critical," argues Damon Silvers, director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO. "

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Source: WashingtonPost.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5249

US National Debt Forecast to Soar to $19.6 Trillion by 2015

According to a US Treasury Department report to Congress, America's national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year, soaring to an eyewatering $19.6 trillion by 2015. The report was surreptitiously slipped into the Congressional mailbox with minimal publicity, only to have the whistle blown by Representative Dave Camp (Republican,Michigan 4th District). Not one to underplay his politcal hand, Camp feasted off the bad news with an eye firmly fixed on the congressional elections in November ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 - 2015]

... claiming: "The president's economic experts say a one percent increase in GDP can create almost a million jobs, and that one percent is what experts think we are losing because of the debt's massive drag on our economy," 

The "economic experts" to whom Camp refers is in fact a single individual: Professor Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland, who recently testified to the bipartisan fiscal commission created by President Barack Obama to recommend ways to reduce the deficit.

The professor's formal opinion is that debt topping 90% of GDP could slow economic growth. The US is currently comfortably distant from that ratio, according to the Treasury report, which predicts that by 2015 the net public debt will rise to an estimated $14 trillion, with a ratio to GDP of 73 percent.

Factors affecting the current debt are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq [a legacy from the previous administration], the Wall Street banking bailout, and the economic stimulus package. It is further exacerbated by obligations to the Social Security retirement program and other government trust funds. 

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

Source: Reuters.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5246

Behavioral Targeting Future in Doubt After US Consumers' 'Thumbs Down'

Behavioral targeting may enrich the likes of Google, its advertisers and their agencies - but if a recent poll carried out by Zogby International is a reliable guide, the days of this controversial advertising practice may be numbered. Of the 2,111 adults surveyed earlier this month by Zogby, 80% expressed concern about companies "recording their online habits and using the data to generate profit through advertising".  What's more, over half of those voicing their disquiet declared themselves "very concerned" at the collection and use of their surfing data. Eighty-eight percent of respondents also view behavioral targeting as an "unfair business practice", with a further 79% declaring their support for ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

... a "do not track" list, similar to the do-not-call telephone register. Just under half the sample (49%) favored a government initiative to protect online privacy.

The Zogby study echoes that carried out last year by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

This also reported consumer dislike (66%) of online behavioral targeting. The study, based on a poll of 1,000 web users, also noted that a majority of surfers (57%) didn't want tailored news stories, while 49% rejected customized discounts.

Like the Mills of God, US lawmakers grind slowly. But if these two separate studies truly reflect the strength of US consumer sentiment, the days of unrestricted behavioral targeting could be numbered.

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=5243

America's IAB Yelps at Proposed Privacy Bill

A new bill due to be presented to Congress by Representative Rick Boucher (Democrat, Virginia-9th District) "would fundamentally change online information and online advertising practices to the detriment of consumers", according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The latter is understandably unenthused that lawmakers might interfere with online marketers' right to target citizens without their prior consent. In defensive mode the IAB has written to Rep Boucher - who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee -  and his committee colleague Rep Cliff Stearns arguing that  ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

... "We believe that self-regulation, which is inherently more flexible and better suited to govern a dynamic environment than legislation, is the best approach to help ensure that consumers receive transparency and choice online."

That companies should be able to target users by default, without moving to a system that allows consumers to manage their profiles, is unacceptable to the IAB.

"Requiring consumers to opt-in to transfers to third parties would drastically reduce the free flow of information that is the heart and soul of today's Internet offerings," it argues, adding that although a handful of online companies now allow users to edit their targeting preferences, "it is too soon in the experimentation of these practices to codify managed preference profiles into federal legislation."

On the other side of the fence, some consumer advocates are equally unhappy happy with the draft bill - albeit for different reasons.

Consumers Union criticizes the Boucher/Stearns proposal for relying too heavily on a notice-and-choice system: "Consumers Union hopes that as the legislation progresses, it will include other methods of privacy protection, such as principles addressing data collection minimization, data quality, purpose specification, extensive security safeguards, individual participation, and accountability."



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=5235

FCC to Again Mull US Media Ownership Rules

The Federal Communications Commission is set to launch its statutory quadrennial review of the rules governing media ownership in the United States. The body will start soliciting public comments as part of a review and possible revision of its media ownership rules. These set limits on the ownership of multiple television and radio stations and newspapers in a single commercial market. An FCC spokeperson said the review will focus on whether the current rules achieve the agency’s goals of competition, localism and diversity. The body is also seeking opinion on whether its current ownership rules are necessary or in the public interest to promote competition in the media business. Meantime, a legal Sword of Damocles remains suspended above the FCC's head ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

... in the form of a Federal appeals court ruling on the actions taken by the FCC in the wake of its last review. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is considering an appeal against the FCC’s decision in 2007 to relax its ban on cross ownership of a daily newspaper and a television station in the same market.

In its latest review the FCC is looking closely at the impact of consolidation of ownership on competition in media markets.

Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act became law, the number of commercial radio stations and commercial television stations has increased by 10 and 15 percent, respectively. But the number of owners of those media outlets has fallen by more than 30 percent in each case.

The body is also soliciting opinion on the impact of the internet on consumers’ use of TV and radio, as well as their ability to gain access to sources of news.

As newspaper circulation has declined, the agency notes that the number of people who say they get news online has increased. But the agency also notes that 20 of the 25 most-visited news websites shared corporate owners with other TV or newspaper companies.

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=5218

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