News Byte: FTC to Look Into Native Advertising

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News Byte: FTC to Look Into Native Advertising
News Byte: FTC to Look Into Native Advertising

Content marketing, one of the buzzwords of 2013, has caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which announced today that it will host a December 4 workshop in Washington, DC on the practice of “native advertising” or “sponsored content.” This is when marketers develop messages designed to resemble the original content of the publisher that is hosting the ads.

Basically, the FTC is looking to start refining the criteria by which advertisements distinguish themselves as advertisements and the manner in which marketing messages integrate with original content. Certainly syndicating content is an effective way brands can magnify reach and potentially diversify their audience. However, the online environment has made it easier for some unscrupulous marketers to mask their intentions through mechanisms such as deceptive search results or fake e-commerce websites. It seems that ambiguity around some online content marketing efforts is also falling into scrutiny.

The FTC also had an open call for submissions of examples that can be used to facilitate discussion of this topic.

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