Category Archives: Reviews

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New NAD Decision Addresses Product Reviews

The NAD recently announced a decision that touches upon various issues related to consumer reviews, including how paid endorsements should be disclosed, a company’s responsibilities regarding the content of endorsements, and the presentation of aggregate reviews. The FitTea website includes a “Results and Reviews” page. At the top of the page are a series of … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Yelp Is Not Responsible for Bad Reviews

The Ninth Circuit recently reaffirmed the protection afforded to website providers and users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In that case, a locksmith sued Yelp over a bad review and one-star rating that had been posted by a consumer. The locksmith accused Yelp of being responsible both for creating the review and … Continue Reading

Groups Urge FTC to Act on Influencer Campaigns

This week, four groups – Public Citizen, Commercial Alert, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and the Center for Digital Democracy – sent a joint letter to FTC encouraging the agency to “investigate and bring enforcement actions related to the practice of non-disclosed advertising through influencer user profiles on Instagram.” As we reported last month, … Continue Reading

NAD Revisits Crowd-Sourced Substantiation

Traditionally, when companies wanted to advertise that consumers preferred their product over another product, the companies would substantiate their claim by running a survey. Consumers would be stopped in a mall, called, or contacted online, and asked their opinions. Now that many consumers freely post their opinions online, though, some companies are wondering whether they … Continue Reading

NAD Worries Consumers Will Jump To Wrong Conclusions Over Trampoline Reviews

A growing number of consumers read reviews before they decide to purchase a product. Because of this – as we’ve posted various times – regulators and competitors are keeping a watchful on eye reviews that seem biased or inauthentic. The latest challenge comes from a world that isn’t known for its advertising challenges: the world … Continue Reading

NY Attorney General Announces 4 Settlements Over False Endorsements

Last year, we posted about a settlement between the FTC and Machinima over an influencer campaign. This week, the NY Attorney General announced a settlement with Machinima over the same campaign, along with settlements with three other companies that allegedly solicited false endorsements. In 2013, Machinima paid gaming “influencers” to post videos endorsing Microsoft’s Xbox … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Settlement Over Influencer Campaign for Xbox One

In January 2014, AdAge interviewed me about news reports that Machinima had hired influencers to create videos promoting Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console and games. In a native advertising campaign, the influencers posted positive reviews, but didn’t disclose that they had been paid to do so. During the interview, we speculated about whether the FTC … Continue Reading

FTC Closes an Investigation Involving Reviews by Employees

In previous posts, we’ve noted that if a person who writes a review about a product has a connection to the company that makes the product, that connection should be clearly disclosed. The types of connections that trigger this disclosure requirement include things such as payments, free products, and, of course, employment. According to press … Continue Reading

NAD Says Online Reviews Don’t Support “Most Recommended” Claim

Last week, in a case of first impression, the NAD determined that reviews collected from retailer websites were insufficiently representative or reliable to support a broad “America’s Most Recommended” claim. The claim was made by Euro-Pro, who advertised that its Shark vacuum was “America’s Most Recommended Vacuum.” The ads disclosed that the claim was based … Continue Reading

NY Attorney General Takes Action Against Fake Online Reviews

This morning, New York Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office had concluded a year-long undercover investigation into the reputation management industry and the practice of posting fake reviews online. Many search engine optimization (“SEO”) companies offer customers online “reputation management” services. During the investigation, the AG learned that some SEO companies perform these services … Continue Reading
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