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Managing a Business

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Best Practices in Advertising and Marketing on the Internet

The Internet continues to connect advertisers and marketers to customers from Boston to Berlin with text, interactive graphics, video and audio. If you're thinking about joining the thousands of businesses who already advertise on the Internet, remember that many of the same rules that apply to other forms of advertising apply to electronic marketing. These rules and guidelines not only protect businesses and consumers, but they help the Internet maintain its credibility as an advertising medium. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has prepared a very detailed guide, but we’ll provide you with the major points right now:

  • Advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers.

  • All claims must be substantiated.

General Offers and Claims for Products and Services

The Federal Trade Commission Act allows the FTC to act in the interest of all consumers to prevent deceptive and unfair acts or practices. In interpreting Section 5 of the Act, the FTC has determined that a representation, omission, or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers or affect consumers' behavior or decisions about the product or service.

In addition, an act or practice is considered unfair if the injury it causes, or is likely to cause, is:

  • Substantial

  • Not outweighed by other benefits or

  • Not reasonably avoidable.

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