New FTC Online Advertisement Standards Rocking the Net

Fort Collins IT Services professionals know that it pays to keep up with what’s happening in terms of how the federal government oversees business activity on the Internet.

On March 12, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a new set of disclosure standards for online advertising. These sweeping requirements are the most extensive since the December 2009 rules, which even required bloggers to disclose information about any remuneration they received for their sites.

Here are some of the changes in the new rules that can affect your online ads, online reviews and other ecommerce activity:

  • Disclosures must be inline whenever possible. The FTC wants websites to place any disclosures as close to the advertising as possible. This meansthat having a separate disclosures page with a simple link at the bottom of each web page may no longer be sufficient.
  • The FTC prefers that disclosures be incorporated into online advertisements. This is going to create a great deal of difficulty for online marketers going forward. All too often, it’s impossible due to space limitations to actually incorporate disclosures into the ad. In those cases, the Federal Trade Commission requires that the disclosure must occur on the page to which the online ad links.
  • Disclosures must occur cross-platform. This rule takes particular notice of how users are changing the way they consume the Internet. For example, if your website has a mobile version, your disclosures must appear as conspicuously and clearly on the mobile site as they would on the full site. If you need help moving your disclosures into the mobile space, Technical Framework, your premier Fort Collins IT Services firm, can help.
  • Disclosures must be prominently displayed. These new rules recommend that disclosures be conspicuous and that website owners display those disclosures in a way that is noticeable. This includes elements such as size and color of the text as well as graphics – in relation to the other portions of the website.
  • Disclosures must also match the content format. Audio content must contain audio disclosures; video content should contain video disclosures, etc.
  • Social media isn’t exempt, either. This includes Facebook ads, Pinterest marketing and the use of Twitter for online ads. It will be interesting to see just how far the FTC is willing to go in implementing these rules in the context of social media.

These new Federal Trade Commission rules will render the disclosures on many websites completely obsolete. Many businesses and organizations are going to need to turn to Technical Framework, the Fort Collins IT Services experts, in order to analyze existing websites and bring them into compliance with this latest set of rules.