The Federal Trade Commission has announced plans to update its “Dot Com Disclosures,” the guidelines it uses to tell businesses how federal advertising laws apply to the internet. The document was originally published in 2000, and the FTC admits that the “online world has changed dramatically” since then.
The FTC has opened a 45-day period for public comments, and explains why it’s time for a refresh:
Since the FTC staff published Dot Com Disclosures, mobile marketing has become a reality, the “App” economy has emerged, the use of “pop-up blockers” has become widespread, and online social networking has emerged and grown popular. In seeking public comment on possible revisions to the guidance document, the staff is interested in the technical and legal issues that marketers, consumer advocates, and others believe should be addressed.
The 2000 guidance emphasizes that the same consumer protection laws apply to marketers whether they operate online or not. It illustrates how online marketers should provide clear and conspicuous disclosures of information that consumers need to make informed online purchasing decisions. It also discusses how the traditional factors used to evaluate whether disclosures are likely to be clear and conspicuous apply in the context of online advertising.
Comments can be filed online or by hard copy between now and July 11. The FTC has not specified when it plans to issue the revised guidance.