Marketing Legally Without Jeopardy
Marketing legally can be confusing and like all things legal complex. Most businesses in today’s hyper-competitive consumer marketplace use online marketing techniques. It may be a paid ad, online content on a business website, or posts on social media. When the internet first began, it was a wild and unregulated place — today, when it comes to marketing, things have changed. The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces online marketing and advertising under the same laws as marketing and advertising on any other medium. The FTC gets its enforcement authority from the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The following are some tips to help you comply with FTC laws, rules, and regulations.
Advertising and Marketing Legally The CAN-Spam Act
Have you heard of the CAN-Spam Act? It controls your use of emails for marketing, and these rules do not apply to direct mail marketing done through the mail. Its highlights are:
- You may use email addresses that people voluntarily gave you. Buying, renting, or harvesting emails is forbidden.
- If the email is part of an email campaign, you must offer recipients of your emails the ability to unsubscribe.
- The subject line of your email cannot mislead consumers.
Copyrights protect those who create images and copy that is published on the internet. Generally speaking, reposting text that cites the creator presents no problems, but images are another story. They may be copyright protected. If you reuse an image you found on the internet, it is your responsibility to determine if it is copyright protected. Using an image that is protected by copyright could result in legal trouble for you and your company.
Deceptive Practices and Misleading Advertising
Misleading advertising is when a company promotes a product or service by making false claims or uses advertising that intentionally misleads the public. Practices considered to be deceptive or misleading include price deception, bait and switch, quality or country of origin deceptions, and fake environmental claims.
Get Out of Jail Free Card
Many small and medium-sized businesses try to do their online marketing themselves. As this post describes, many business owners are unaware that there are laws, rules, and regulations that govern online and traditional marketing. Ensure you are marketing legally by hiring an expert in online marketing and advertising to guide your efforts.