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Following FTC Rules on Online Marketing

Following FTC Rules on Online Marketing

For most of the 20th-century television advertising was a regulated industry. Initiatives like Kidvid and the Fairness Doctrine helped keep television a balanced but still profitable business platform for a number of successful companies.

When the web first became popular in the early 90s it was not immediately accepted as a commercial platform. Since online advertising has now become a multibillion-dollar business it is necessary for regulators to take a closer look at how products are promoted on the web. The Federal Trade Commission is the organization tasked with making sure customers have a clear idea what they’re buying and from whom.

Regulations

If you are promoting a product on the Internet your obligations under FTC regulations are fairly simple. You need to make certain that your customer knows who is selling the product, who is promoting the product and who is reviewing the product. From a regulatory standpoint, this is known as “transparency.”

Following these guidelines makes it possible for the customer to make an informed decision about their purchase while not having to worry about whether or not reviews, promotions, and sales techniques are genuine.

Disclosure

As a reviewer, your main obligation under FTC regulations is to disclose any relationship you may have with the manufacturer of a product or any relationship you may have with other reviewers. This is so customers who read your review will be reassured your opinion has not been unnecessarily influenced by the manufacturer or by other reviewers. This principle also to ensures you haven’t been secretly compensated for your efforts in reviewing a product.

Influencer

Disclosure principles become especially important in the world of influencer marketing. Many bloggers have made a career of reviewing products on their sites. The trust between bloggers and their readers is the foundation upon which their business operates.

If they endorse a product at the behest of a manufacturer they are required to disclose to their readers the manufacturer compensated them for their article or opinion or paid marketing. This rule creates a distinction between an independent reviewer and a paid marketing campaign.

By and large Federal Trade Commission regulations are very easy to follow. At the same time they are a necessary part of online marketing because they help enforce the difference between paid marketing and the genuine opinion of another customer. Only this level of trust makes it possible for online marketing to join other media in being a part of a successful economy.

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Are You Sharing Too Much? A Privacy Settings Guide

Are You Sharing Too Much? A Privacy Settings Guide

In the world of social networking, sharing is the name of the game. Studies such as the one in this article show that people are using social media more than ever. As this sharing trend continues to rise, double checking your security is more important than ever. To get you started, let’s check out two of the most popular sites available.

First up, Facebook. You can navigate to your settings through this link directly. Or, if you’re using a computer, navigate to the drop-down menu in the top right, and click settings. From there we are focusing on two tabs. Security and Privacy.

The Security tab mainly functions as a way to protect your account from outside access. You can get notifications when someone other than you tries to login to your account, add an authorization code as a second layer of security, or even set different passwords for mobile logins. It is also important to check the Recognized Devices and Where You’re Logged In settings, as these can show you other people that may have access to your account already. It’s common to borrow someones computer or phone to check your Facebook and forget to logout, or even accidentally save your login information to their device.

The Privacy tab is very straightforward, and is used mainly to control who can view your profile, posts, and private information. If you don’t want random people finding your phone number on Facebook, hide it here!

Next up, Twitter. Access your settings with this link directly. Also, on desktop, you can click your profile image in the top right of the page, and navigate to settings from there. We’ll be looking at the Account tab, as well as the Privacy and Safety tab.

The Account tab is similar to the Facebook Security tab. You can add a phone number to your security settings here, allowing you to manually confirm every time a new login is attempted on your account. Even if your password is hacked, this allows you to stop attempts to login. You may also setup a more detailed password reset feature, which prevents other people from resetting your password without answering security questions that only you would know.

The Privacy and Safety tab follows the same function as Facebook’s Privacy settings. Here is where you will limit to what information and posts other Twitter users can access. You can prevent anyone from seeing your Twitter feed who you haven’t approved, set photo tagging and location settings, as well as adjusting messaging privacy.

Remember, preventing unauthorized access to your account is always the first and best strategy to stopping unwanted events. Whenever you sign up for a new website, take just a few minutes to review your security settings. Doing this saves hours of potential headaches in the future!

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Your Digital Footprint is Larger Than You May Realize

Your Digital Footprint is Larger Than You May Realize

Everyone who goes online leaves a footprint. Online retailers and review sites often leave cookies that feed information about your online activity back to them. Google makes their money from tracking everything that you do and serving up ads targeted towards your observed interests, as do most other search engines. Social media like Facebook and Twitter do the same.

Microsoft Windows 10 collects massive amounts of personal data and browsing history and sends it to Microsoft. If you dig out and reset all of the settings, you can minimize that, but you can’t use Windows and eliminate it completely. Apple does the same thing, though they claim that they don’t use it for anything but making Siri work better for you.

Yet they do track and store your iPhone’s GPS data. They can draw a map of everywhere you’ve carried your phone for the last several years, and where you go reveals a lot about your life. Android users who think that Google doesn’t do the same thing haven’t looked at Google closely.

The NSA swore under oath that they didn’t collect data, but Snowden proved that they do. They now claim that it’s only metadata, but do we trust them this time?

Anybody Can Do It

It’s not just big companies and government agencies, either. It’s not difficult to take a bit of information that you know about someone and find out a lot more about them through their digital footprint.

Easiest is a search engine on what they do know. If you’re interested in someone on a forum who uses the nickname ‘sweetie18’, doing a web search on the nickname will turn up other forums where the handle is in use, and they’re all likely to be the same person. Sending a bit of text that looks like spam to the common email sites like gmail, hotmail, yahoo and the like with the username ‘sweetie21@mymail.com’ may reveal their email address. Any mail sent that does not return a ‘mail undeliverable’ is an address in use by someone.

If you can find one profile picture, any site like tineye.com will help you look for the same image wherever it has been used. If it shows up on Facebook, it also reveals what they told Facebook that their real name is. Take that back to the search engines, and their life opens up pretty quickly.

This doesn’t count the information that we leave about ourselves on social media. Whatever you say on Facebook or Twitter is a matter of public record.

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