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What We ALL Need to Know About the New FTC Guidelines
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Some weeks ago I posted on one of the new guidelines released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its first major update of the .com Disclosures Guide since 2000. Yes, that’s right...the year 2000...the same year many of us were breathing sighs of relief nothing catastrophic happened regarding Y2K. And yes, that was thirteen years ago. Since then so much has changed in the marketing, public relations, and other landscapes.
Social Media Examiner recently posted an article for marketers on the new FTC disclosures that this blogger found very informative. The article also is of importance for all us flacks out there, since many of us often work very closely with marketing and other teams in our organizations (if internal) or as clients (if in agencies).

The article mentioned one compelling reason for the new guidelines: “First, it’s important to understand the environment in which this guide was published. With the first release in 2000, the .com Disclosures guide was an attempt to narrow the gray area of how marketing and advertising worked on the Internet so companies could maintain compliance with consumer protection laws. When the initial .com Disclosures guide came out, we were breathing a heavy sigh of relief having “survived” Y2K. There was no such thing as an iPhone (first sold in 2007), Twitter was 6 years away, MySpace was on the horizon (2003) and many were eagerly awaiting Windows XP (2001).”

Further on, the article pointedly asks, “As marketing, brand, social media, PR and digital professionals, what does the 2013 .com Disclosures guide mean for you? With regard to consumer protection laws themselves, not much. With regard to how digital marketing and advertising programs are executed, there will likely need to be changes.”

This blogger thinks it worthwhile to carefully read the entire Social Media Examiner article because it contains a lot of useful information for us flacks in it.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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