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FTC Issues New Rules for Native Advertising on the Internet (blockadblock.com) 120

popo writes: Native Advertising, or advertorial content that's camouflaged to mimic a site's original content is all the rage among web publishers these days particularly as ad-blocking takes a bigger and bigger bite out of traditional web-advertising revenues. Well the FTC reiterated its position on native ads and may have just slammed the door shut on this "alternative" form of online advertising. The verdict: If it's not clearly marked "advertising", it may be considered misleading. And by misleading, the FTC means illegal. Of course, from an adblocking perspective, once you clearly indicate something is an ad — you make it all the more easy to block. Which defeats one of the primary goals of native ads to begin with.
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FTC Issues New Rules for Native Advertising on the Internet

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  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:37PM (#51175957) Journal

    I guess this won't bar product placement though. What distinguishes between "placement" and "native ads" anyway? Placement has gotten pretty ridiculous in some media. You know, I used to enjoy the Tonight Show monologue, right up through Leno. Come to think of it, even Leno did placements with his "products that shouldn't merge" routine; but at least it was funny. Sort of. Now I play a game with the Tonight Show and some of the other late night shows. When the first product placement appears, I turn the TV off and go to bed. Very often I fail to make it through the entire monologue.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of course it won't, nor should it. There are two major kinds of placement (to me). There is version were the product is just being used in the course of the show. Character has to have a vehicle, phone, computer, etc. This is no problem. Then there is the kind where scenes are written just for the product. The (unnecessary) car chase that ends with a zoom on the logo, the beer bottle set down right in front of the camera. That kind will make me find another show.

    • It's everywhere. Morning TV shows are nothing but ads with actual 'news' tickered at the bottom. Ellen used to be an entertaining talk show. Now it's a 60 minute ad for her sponsors.

      Hell Jurassic World was a 90 minute commercial for Beats, Samsung and Mercedes.

      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        I had no idea TV was like this. I haven't really watched any prime-time television in years now. Didn't know I was missing so much! Are the popular sitcoms and dramas like this also?

        • Between the 10 minutes of commercials in a 30 minute time slot (including running closing and/or opening credits in a small window while a commercial for some other show is playing, sorta like picture-in-a-picture), the corner bugs, the bottom bars that over lap the corner bugs, the other corner bugs, etc. you don't even need a show to show it is about advertising.

    • Every show or movie I've seen in the past many years has such a list at the end The law probably already exists. Almost always the last item in the credits (shocker). And listed as "promotional consideration"

      Keep in mind, the FTC isn't saying "you cannot." It's saying "you cannot do it and not tell people"

    • When my wife is also watching, I don't play my favorite TBBT (virtual) drinking game.

      Whenever a character makes a reference to a product or franchise, I say "Drink". Two in a row for the same product/franchise, I say "Chug".

      Virtual, because I generally don't drink much, and never drink _that_ much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:40PM (#51175979)

    I work in the advertising industry. Despite all the buzz around them and the dumb marketing nonsense, "native" ads had abysmal click-through rate, engagement, and literally negative brand metric. Turns out, users really really dislike being tricked into thinking an ad is actual page content, and brands are starting to get results back that show this. High end clients have specifically eliminated native advertisement from their purchased inventory.

    The rules still need to be in place for the crap-tier networks, but chances are those are going to be based in eastern europe anyway and thus not subject to FTC rules at all.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      The only reason why this has been happening in the first place is because Gamergate started a campaign against undisclosed native advertising last year. [reddit.com] The whole idea was going after clickbait sites by hurting their bottom line, and it seems to be working very well.

      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @07:52AM (#51177699) Journal

        Way go over sell the importance of gamer gate. Undisclosed advertising has been a problem and has attracted regulations for decades. This is just one more in a 60 year old battle between advertisers wanting to trick viewers and the government trying to keep them honest to promote fair trade.

        This would have happened with or without gamer gate, and I don't gamer gate had any notable effect.

        Well let's see, you've provided a link. I'm sure that you're being ethical and providing a link to a nice, unbiased source, rather than something written by gaters themselves. The latter would be deeply unethical and therefore against everything gaters have ever done (excluding all the stuff they made up and the rape and death threats that is).

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Way go over sell the importance of gamer gate. Undisclosed advertising has been a problem and has attracted regulations for decades.

          I'm sure that's why it's suddenly all happened at once and the FTC has come out in force against it right? If it would have happened without gamergate, then I'm sure you can prove that they if they hadn't engaged in said campaign then it would have happened eventually as well.

          Well let's see, you've provided a link. I'm sure that you're being ethical and providing a link to a nice, unbiased source, rather than something written by gaters themselves. The latter would be deeply unethical and therefore against everything gaters have ever done (excluding all the stuff they made up and the rape and death threats that is).

          So like many people, you make the usual "rape/death threats/bs" I'm sure you've actually got proof of that, you know unlike the mass number of pedophiles in anti-GG or the ones that are actively doxing people, trying to get individua

          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            I'm sure that's why it's suddenly all happened at once and the FTC has come out in force against it right? If it would have happened without gamergate, then I'm sure you can prove that they if they hadn't engaged in said campaign then it would have happened eventually as well.

            Correlation is not causation. The onus is on you to prove that the gaters had any effect on the FTC. The underlying cause (the rise of so-called native ads on the internet) is clearly the cause for both of these things. What is not cle

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              Correlation is not causation. The onus is on you to prove that the gaters had any effect on the FTC. The underlying cause (the rise of so-called native ads on the internet) is clearly the cause for both of these things. What is not clear is that the gaters had any effect on the FTC.

              I did, you said it doesn't count. The documentation stating that it was the op in question was the main reason that the FTC turned around and updated the rules doesn't seem to count for you.

              Of course one must remember that the media has had it out for GG since day one, unlike say...BLM. After all, a corrupt media that lives on clickbait has has an enemy in GG, especially an enemy that exposes their clickbait and unethical practices. Ever wonder why so many sites that survive on clickbait banned all discu

              • I did, you said it doesn't count. The documentation stating that it was the op in question was the main reason that the FTC turned around and updated the rules doesn't seem to count for you.

                A bunch of people identifying with a cause founded on a lie telling me they've done something good is not evidence unless you've drowned in their KoolAid already.

                Why on earth should I believe them?

                Of course one must remember that the media has had it out for GG since day one,

                Day one of gg was ethically spreading lies abo

                • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

                  A bunch of people identifying with a cause founded on a lie telling me they've done something good is not evidence unless you've drowned in their KoolAid already.

                  Why on earth should I believe them?

                  What lie would that be? And it's not them telling you that, it would be the information that was conveyed by the FTC telling you that. Unless of course you couldn't be bothered to read it.

                  Day one of gg was ethically spreading lies about Quinn because if ethics apparently. Those alleged reviews never existed.

                  Given the first event was doxxing, rape and death threats over someone who didn't do anything and the "movement" snow balled from there, why should the media take them seriously. Also rape, death threats aren't ethical, and so some group trying to take the moral high ground while making them is mental, no matter what they perceive the other "side" to be doing.

                  Since GG never said that there were reviews, rather she got preferential treatment which is true. Remember, if you're banging a journalist and they suddenly write something about what you're making that *is* unethical. If that same journalist is reviewing/writing/offering content for your game, that's also unethical.

                  • Since GG never said that there were reviews,

                    Tell me, my man, if GG never called it reviews, then why did you, yourself refer it to as a review right here, in your very own words?

                    http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]

                    Now I appear to have caught you either in a lie or an impressive case of self delusion.

                    Your post reminded me of this:

                    http://d1o2xrel38nv1n.cloudfro... [cloudfront.net]

                    Oh yes I'm sure she doxxed herself. I searched for "dox" in the wall of text you linked to. Not present.

                    I like how you're bringing alleged events that

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      >High end clients have specifically eliminated native advertisement from their purchased inventory.

      Motley Fool investor advertorials are especially egregious. The ones pushed on facebook are offensive beyond words. I've blackholed MF itself. Forever.

      --
      BMO

    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )
      A contrary experience with Native Advertising in this comment [slashdot.org]. I wonder if that's because you're doing things differently, or just have a different audience demographic.
  • by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:50PM (#51176009) Homepage

    I know how it should be: regulator should force every commercial media/service website to offer you a paid adless trackless version. For example, I should be able to choose between paying $10 a month and getting no ads and no tracking from google or pay 0 and get both. If I think that is not worth $10, they can bombast me any way they want with ads and play the arms race no matter how nasty they want. I think it is fair and it would show the clear value of targetted ads.

    • "That's a nice data cap you've got there, it would be a real shame if anything happened to it."

    • by saward ( 4277563 )

      Check out our service Webpass.io [webpass.io], which is a step towards what you're asking for, and have a look at our privacy policy if you please. Tracking is one of my greatest concerns with advertising.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:51PM (#51176013)

    You won't believe what they did next!

  • Note that when Gamergate happened, it took several months and the threat of FTC involvement (in response to direct GG pressure) to force Gawker to change its tune and start updating old articles with disclosures. So this is good news.
  • by UPZ ( 947916 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @09:03PM (#51176065)
    Many people who use ad-block use it because of malware and tracking. That includes me. These people won't be opposed to native advertising. Granted, that's not everyone and I guess we'll soon figure out how many people are as such.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Many people us it because they do not like ads. That includes me. I oppose to native advertising. I oppose to any advertising.

      I understand that the ads industry has a different point of view, but they can defend themselves if they so like to do and they do that pretty well, as many people defend them without even being paid for it or get anything in return.

      They say things like 'I would not mind ads that have XXX'. Well, I do.

      Or to quote Banksy:
      People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into y

    • I use it because I want to get the bandwidth that I'm paying for instead of having a lot of freeloaders piggy back on it. A 100 word article should not take several seconds to load, and if someone is on dialup it shouldn't take 5 minutes just to read the first line. Maybe if the advertisers starting paying their fair share here it wouldn't be so bad - after all, the junk mail that shows up from the postal service is not free, the advertisers had to pay bulk rates to get it to me (which I immediately throw

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      I take issue with ads regardless because I have literally zero interest in them, having never clicked one intentionally (sometimes they've used exploits to force me to click them when I click elsewhere on the page, but that's frankly a form of hacking and should be illegal if it's not). They're just a waste of time and bandwidth to me, therefore nowadays I block every type of ad I can.

      The real problem is that you don't know if a page is ad sponsored until you visit it. Sites should have to disclose they're

  • Anti-adblock site (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @09:03PM (#51176071)
    Note that the article URL, blockadblock dot com, is that of some sort of anti-adblock piranha (cf. https://github.com/sitexw/Bloc... [github.com]) so you might want to think twice before clicking it.
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @09:11PM (#51176111) Homepage Journal

    Native Advertising, or advertorial content that's camouflaged to mimic a site's original content is all the rage among web publishers these days

    Rest assured it won't happen here.

    If MojoKid, StartsWithABang, StewPid and Nerval's Lobster all fall under a bus.

  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @11:02PM (#51176507) Homepage

    The site I work on uses native advertising (as well as more conventional ads). We prefer the native ads not because we're trying to fool blockers (or indeed users) - the ads are still clearly labelled as such. The reason we prefer them is they perform hugely better. When the ad content fits with the overall content of the site and is actually tailored to the audience it turns out people engage with it - and that makes the advertisers happy and makes us more money.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Based on this preliminary stuff, ads labeled as ads would not be affected. Who knows if this will go anywhere or not though.

    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )
      A contrary experience with Native Advertising in this comment [slashdot.org]. I wonder if that's because you're doing things differently, or just have a different audience demographic.
      • by radish ( 98371 )

        I think it's probably a bit of both. In our case, we're absolutely not trying to make the ads look like editorial content (we don't have any) - they "look like" user posts, they're just obviously branded as being paid. The real trick (I think) is that before we take any of these ads on we work with the brands in question to get them to understand our audience and what appeals to them, and can even provide them with creative services to help make stuff which resonates. When we get really good paid content, u

        • by Mandrel ( 765308 )

          Thanks for the explanation.

          Content ads will naturally be more relevant on niche-topic forums than on general forums or news sites.

          Are they pay-per-post-view, pay-per-title-view, pay-per-period, pay-per-click-in-post, or pay-per-action? And are there strict rules against commercial posts outside this system?

  • kr5ddit.com [kr5ddit.com] (still under development), where advertisers can buy moderation power directly from users so they can promote their stories to the top of the front page.

    What problem are the FTC trying to fix here? Nobody is forced to read articles or visit any website... If user's don't find native adverts interesting, they will shy away from the websites that do that. Why do we need regulation here when the free market can sort this problem out? Making false claims about your product is already illegal, no?

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @11:31PM (#51176635)

    What tribes are involved?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Advertisers can kiss my ass, due to the bullshit a few allowed in, I've been blocking ever since.
    NO ad should use any form of: Java, flash, or animated GIFs. Until they all follow that rule, my blocker, in the form of DNS Redirect, stays up.
    What? Not all of them will follow. Guess I won't be seeing many ads then.

  • Find out what it means to me When advertisers finally respect me, my time, my my browser, and my computer, and display items that are not obnoxious, misleading, or blatant lies, then I will turn off my blocker. Until and unless that happens I'll continue to use them. As this will likely never happen, I will continue to use blockers whenever possible for the foreseeable future.
  • I cannot see how the Federal Trade Commission can in good conscience accept money from the American people. They don't protect a level commerce field. They don't do anything to stop anti-competitive legislation. They don't do anything about monopolies. The don't certainly don't protect consumers.

    Why should the good tax payers pay them?

  • ... there goes about 45% of "content" on Slashdot.

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