Oh…Is This An Ad?
Do you sometimes find it hard to tell ads from surrounding content when you’re online or using a mobile app? Have you ever wondered whether the article you selected is actually an ad? If your answer is yes, you may be interested in an upcoming FTC workshop.
On December 4, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop to look at advertising that resembles the news, entertainment, or other content it’s embedded with. These ads may be called “native advertising” or “sponsored content,” and they’re increasingly found on digital media. The workshop will bring together representatives from publishing, advertising, and academia, as well as federal regulators and consumer advocates to talk about changes in the way ads are presented, and how readers notice and understand advertising messages. The workshop will be free and open to the public; you can send ideas for discussion topics until October 29.
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has a long history of making sure that advertising pitches are identified for what they really are. We’ve taken enforcement actions against infomercial producers and operators who ran fake news websites that were a front for marketing products. We provide tips to help spot fake news sites, and be smart about testimonials from “satisfied customers” who may be paid shills. If you’ve had problems with a product or service that didn’t live up to its advertising, file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.