The Digital Advertising Alliance (“DAA”), a self-regulatory group that represents marketing and media organizations, released new guidance this week for advertisers in the mobile space. Entitled “Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment,” the guidance builds on well-known principles such as notice (or transparency) and choice (or control), and tailors them to the unique challenges that face the mobile environment.
Continue Reading Mobile in the Spotlight with Digital Advertising Alliance Guidance

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidelines (PDF) for regulating unfair and deceptive trade practices in online marketing. The “.Com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising,” were released in 2000, before the meteoric rise of social media marketing and the advent of smartphone advertising. As the evolution of these two areas has drastically changed the way brands communicate with consumers and blurred lines between corporate and word of mouth advertising, the FTC saw a need to extend these guidelines to cover all online, social and mobile marketing.
Continue Reading FTC Revises Guidelines for Online Advertising

On September 5, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission published “Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right from the Start”, a set of guides addressing compliance with truth in lending and privacy principles for mobile app developers. Disclosures and privacy protection for mobile apps is a major issue and the FTC’s guidance is important. In their summary, the FTC provided an overview that advised that app developers:

Tell the Truth About What Your App Can Do
Disclose Key Information Clearly and Conspicuously
Build Privacy Considerations in From the Start
Offer Choices that are Easy to Find and Easy to Use
Honor Your Privacy Promises
Protect Kids’ Privacy
Collect Sensitive Information Only with Consent
Keep User Data Secure

Pretty basic stuff, but the reminders from the FTC are well taken and should be carefully digested by anyone in the mobile app business, whether they’re developers or marketers. For a copy of the full publication, click here.
Continue Reading FTC Issues Guidance to Mobile App Developers

…another important development in the area of mobile marketing and advertising.

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ Eastern Division found that a 20th Century Fox SMS campaign violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”). While these cases provide extremely important guidance as mobile marketing continues to evolve into

Reprinted with permission from Mobile Marketer at

Earlier last month the leading media, advertising and marketing trade associations, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Direct Marketing Association and the Better Business Bureau, representing an overwhelming majority of industry participants, released their Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (the “principles”), with the objective of protecting consumer privacy in ad-supported interactive media.

These generally follow the advisory principles that were released in February 2009 by the Federal Trade Commission. In fact, upon the FTC’s release, then-commissioner Jon Leibowitz remarked that anything industry can do to adopt, promulgate and enforce the principles represents “the last clear chance to show that self-regulation can – and will – effectively protect consumers’ privacy in a dynamic online marketplace.”

The principles were aimed at the following categories: education, transparency, consumer control, data security, material changes, sensitive data and accountability. Each principle is well thought out and tailored to specific areas within the universe of online behavioral advertising.

These principles can be summarized, in part, as follows:

  1. Educate consumers and businesses about online behavior advertising.
  2. Disclose and inform consumers about data collection and use practices, including various forms of notice that may be required depending on the nature of the data collected and the party collecting it.
  3. Give consumers options regarding the collection, use and sharing of information to non-affiliates.
  4. Require service providers and carrier networks – for example, non-first or third parties – to obtain consent before a user’s data may be used for behavioral advertising.

    Thereafter, the data may only be obtained for as long as necessary to fulfill a legitimate business need, or as required by law.

  5. Special treatment afforded to sensitive information, such as medical and financial information, as well as information from users under the age of 13.

    Moreover, service providers engaged in online behavioral advertising should undertake steps to help preserve the de-identified status of data collected and used if and when that data is shared with non-affiliates.

  6. Entities should maintain appropriate physical, electronic and administrative safeguards to protect the data collected and used for online behavioral advertising purposes.
  7. A user’s consent must be obtained before either a Web site or some other third party uses the previously collected data for materially different behavioral advertising purposes. Typically, a material change would be a more expansive collection or use of data than previously disclosed to the user.
  8. Establish accountability processes that should consist of monitoring programs, complaint procedures, reporting and compliance requirements, enforcement and public disclosures of offenders.

Does any of this sound familiar?

As early as 2007, many leading agencies, aggregators and publishers throughout the mobile marketing industry have stood behind most of these same principles and incorporated them into various codes of conduct and best practices.Continue Reading Are self-regulatory ad guidelines sufficient to satisfy federal regulators?

When Laci Satterfield’s son answered his mother’s cell phone in the middle of a cold January night in 2006, he heard the following message: “The next call you take may be your last.” Seconds later, when a text message arrived to the same number promoting Steven King’s newest horror novel, The Cell, Ms. Satterfield decided