FTC to "Explore the Blurring of Digital Ads With Digital Content"

Sep 17, 2013


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The Federal Trade Commission says it will host a workshop on December 4, 2013 in Washington, DC to examine the practice of blending advertisements with news, entertainment, and other content in digital media, referred to as "native advertising" or "sponsored content." This type of advertising has grown increasingly common as publishers look for ways to get the attention of consumers who simply look past banner ads.

The workshop will bring together publishing and advertising industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government regulators to explore changes in how paid messages are presented to consumers and consumers' recognition and understanding of these messages. The workshop builds on previous Commission initiatives to help ensure that consumers can identify advertisements as advertising wherever they appear.  This includes recent updates to the Search Engine Advertising guidance, the Dot Com Disclosures guidance, and theEndorsements and Testimonials Guides.

The FTC invites the public to submit original research, recommendations for topics of discussion, and requests to participate as panelists.  The Commission also invites the submission of examples and mock-ups that can be used for illustration and discussion at the workshop. 

Electronic submissions can be made online. Paper submissions should reference Native Advertising Workshop both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to:  Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex X), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.  Requests to participate should include a statement detailing any relevant expertise in digital advertising and should be submitted by October 29, 2013 via email to nativeads@ftc.gov.  Panelists selected to participate will be notified by November 6, 2013.

The workshop is free and open to the public.  It will be held at the FTC's satellite building conference center, located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.