At Traverse Internet Law a good majority of our law pract ice deals with online marketing. It seems our days are spent working on compliance issues, structuring contracts and litigating advertising related disputes. Needless to say, given the evolving interest in this space by the FTC and Congress and the Department of Justice and the State Attorneys General, this is a growth industry for an Internet lawyer.
Now comes the following from the US Senate:
Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty use aggressive sales tactics intentionally designed to mislead online shoppers. These three companies exploit shoppers‘ expectations about the online purchasing process to charge millions of consumers each year for services the consumers do not want and do not understand they have purchased. Hundreds of e-commerce merchants – including many of the best-known, respected websites and retailers on the Internet – allow these three companies to use aggressive sales tactics against their customers, and share in the revenues generated by these misleading tactics. While Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have taken steps to curb similar abusive practices in telemarketing, there has not yet been any action to protect consumers while they are shopping online.
This damning report can be found here: Senate Online Advertising Report. Everyone in the online advertising industry should read this in its entirety. At Traverse Internet Law, we took particular notice of the finding that there were inadequate laws in place to deal with the "deceptive" (that's this Committee's opinion) practices outlined in the report. Expect more regulatory intervention and Congressional activity and investigations if you are involved in the online advertising industry. (and who isn't?)