FTC sets up workshop on online ads

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FTC / Federal Trade CommissionThe Federal Trade Commission’s set of rules on online advertising,, known as Dot Com Disclosure, is 12 years old and in need of revision. So the FTC is inviting interested parties to a workshop that will delve into the issue.


The FTC said, “The workshop will cover revising the Dot Com Disclosures so they better illustrate how businesses can provide clear and conspicuous disclosures in the current online and mobile advertising environment. Any revisions will be consistent with the goals of the original guidelines and will continue to emphasize that consumer protection laws apply equally to online and mobile marketers, and to other media. The FTC began seeking input for revising the Dot Com Disclosures guidelines last year.”

The session is on the schedule for Wednesday, 5/30/12.

Here is the preliminary agenda:

Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World

* 8:30 AM: Registration

* 9:00 AM: Welcome & Opening Remarks

* 9:15 AM: Presentation on Usability Research

* 9:30 AM: Panel 1: Universal and Cross-Platform Advertising Disclosures
** When, where, and how should required disclosures be made?
** When and how can hyperlinks and similar techniques be used to make required disclosures?
** What techniques increase or decrease the likelihood that consumers will actually read a required disclosure?

* 11:00 AM: Break

* 11:15 AM: Panel 2: Social Media Advertising Disclosures
** What are the challenges and best approaches to making adequate disclosures on social media platforms that restrict message length?
** How can required disclosures be made on social media platforms when consumers simply click a button to signify approval of a product or service?

* 12:30 PM: Break

* 1:30 PM: Panel 3: Mobile Advertising Disclosures
** What are the challenges and best approaches to making adequate disclosures, given the screen size constraints of mobile devices?
** Should all commercial websites be designed to ensure that their disclosures are clear and conspicuous when viewed on mobile devices?
** Are there device-specific or platform-specific constraints that the Commission should consider in providing disclosure guidance?

* 2:45 PM: Break

* 3:00 PM: Panel 4: Mobile Privacy 
** What are the challenges in delivering short, effective, and accessible mobile privacy disclosures?
** What research exists regarding the effectiveness of privacy disclosures on mobile devices, and what steps can businesses take to communicate with consumers in a clear and consistent way about their privacy practices?

* 4:30 PM: Closing Remarks