The United States of America government enforces various acts through various constitutionally formed agencies. Federal administrative agencies are charged with the responsibility of implementation of the various legislative acts enacted by the US congress. They are endowed with authority to supervise and direct on various economic and social matter whose threshold is beyond the legislator’s expertise. The United States of America is vast and has numerous social and economic matters that call for skillful handling. This has resulted in the creation of hundreds of these bodies to ensure smooth running of social and economic affairs. Federal administrative agencies include; the federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The Federal Trade Commission is a government agency that is tasked with enhancing consumer protection and regulating business activities in the USA. This commission was established in the year 1914 by the federal Trade commission act of the US congress (Barry, 2011, 5). The commission consists of a five member group who are appointed by the sitting US president with the assistance of the senate. Each of the members is legible to serve for a non-renewable term of seven years. The appointed commissioners must be from not be from the same political affiliation the Federal Trade commission act prohibits appointment of more than three commissioners from the same political party. One of the commissioners is appointed to head the commission. Its headquarters are in the Washington, D.C in the Apex building. The commission has the mandate and duty to enforce laws that promote a fair competition ground for businesses and protect the consumers’ interests.
The main issue of concern that coerced the US government under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson to establish the Federal trade commission was the corporates. A corporate is a large enterprise that is involved in huge business transactions. Prior to the Federal trade commission establishment, the US congress enacted an anti-trust act duped the Clayton antitrust act (John, 2013, 116). The act outlined the code of conduct of the trusts. Prior to the enactment of the Clayton act, trusts or corporates were being involved in rampant unhealthy competition with the medium and small firm. After its establishment the FTC formed bureaus to facilitate achievement of its core business.
The commission has four bureaus, each mandated with a different task to attain their main obligation as a whole. The bureau of competition was formulated to ensure fair business competition and to eliminate anticompetitive business practices. It is tasked with the enforcement of the Clayton antitrust law (Leonard, 2013, 64). The bureau of consumer protection on the other hand has the obligation of consumer protection. Its main mandate is to ensure that no unfair or deceptive acts are done against the consumers by various commercial firms. The bureau of economics plays a supportive role. It gives advisorial services to the latter bureaus on matters of the economic impact of the FTC’s legislation and their operation. The Federal trade commission is responsible for civil enforcement of various trade acts (Frank, 2012, 146). It works hand in hand with the antitrust division in the department of justice to solve criminal matters arising in their line of duty. The commission’s jurisdiction is all over the federal states of USA.
Federal Trade Commission regulation of behavioral advertising
One of the regulations imposed by the Federal Trade Commission is the regulation of behavioral advertising. With the onset of technology in advertising, various firms in the United States of America have been using different technological platforms to advertise their products. Behavioral advertising or targeting is a form of online advertising. The web publisher creates a web page that is able to capture the information on the visits done. Mostly it is done without the knowledge of the customers. This practice effectively facilitates collection of in-depth knowledge of consumers preferences according to amount spent online and all the links opened. Interactive profiles are created for prospective consumer which promotes collection of more information about the consumers (Edith, 2013, 64). The advertising firm is then able to analyze consumer preferences based on their consumer behavior.
The federal Trade Commission is involved in the regulation of the behavioral advertising techniques used by various firms. The behavioral advertising regulation restricts the extent to which the firms capture consumer online behavioral data. It promotes the privacy of the consumers who engage in online searches for various products.
Various approaches are used by the Federal trade Commission to curb any violation of the privacy of online consumers (Susan, 2011, 345). It regulates the firms’ usage of online behavioral advertising. It incorporates both federal and self-regulation practices to enforce this law. Self-regulation involves the firm itself. The FTC requests all businesses to monitor their own adherence to various legal limits in behavioral advertising in accordance to various laws as stipulated in the federal constitution. The FTC engages businesses in volunteering to follow these regulations without external coercion by various federal departments. By adhering to the regulations, it means that the company maintains the set levels of behavioral advertising without interfering with the privacy of the consumers (Edith, 2013, 65). On this note the Federal Trade commission holds a series of educative workshops publishes reports and gives various endorsements that the firms ought to adopt.
The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 is also used to enforce the behavioral advertising of firms. The CAN-SPAM is an acronym that is used to denote, controlling the assault of non-solicited pornography (Essell, 2009, 468). This act gives regulations to firms that they should seek permission from consumers before sending them marketing messages. The telemarketing and consumer fraud and abuse prevention act stipulates that no deceptive or exploitive forms of tele-advertisement should be done
In line with the three acts, the federal Trade Commission closely monitors advertisement websites. It evaluates and regulates the privacy policies of various websites. It coerces owners of the commercial websites to fully disclose their privacy practices. It constantly holds workshops and recommends to the congress on passing various online privacy legislations. This enables creation of basic levels of consumer protection on personal information. Basically the role of FTC is to give guidelines to the advertising firms which should be strictly adhered to. In this bid the commission also bears the public educative role (Susan, 2011, 235). It passes on knowledge on privacy issues to susceptible consumers.
The commission regularly revises its principles governing privacy matters to keep abreast with the dynamic technological issues. Every tick of the clock and a new technological invention crops up. With this in mind the commission employs technology mavens who keep a sharp eye on any changes in the online advertisement trends that violate the protocols pertaining. It also constantly issues out self-regulatory principles which act as a guideline. Generally their approach is to enhance the consumer protection and eliminate any deceptive method used over the internet by product advertisers and at the same time maintain a healthy competition among businesses (Susan, 2011, 89). The federal trade commission is mostly emphasizing on disclosures. Any advertisement online should not be fishy. All hyperlinks on advertisement websites should be notable or rather disclosed. Scroll links should be avoided especially on the social networks.
Online ventures are the most susceptible to the behavioral advertising principles by the Federal Trade Commission. All the companies that practice some sort of online marketing are subject to these regulations. Social networks including twitter, Facebook and others that carry out some form of advertising are also subject to these regulations (Edgar, 2013, 144). Examples of online ventures in the US include Amazon.com, ATG stores, Bass pro shops, Black phoenix Alchemy lab, Blue Nile Inc., Boston computer Exchange, build.com, drug store, Com, Thrift books and swoopthat.com. Many USA companies have employed intensive advertisement approaches especially targeting online customers. They have created special websites that enable them track any activity of consumers. They also provided interactive platforms through which customers can provide their personal information including their names, contacts, area of residence and their respective states.
The regulation affects various online advertisements by companies. It ensures that all firms avoid fully assertion of deceptive practices in their persuasive advertisements. The regulation also ensures that businesses disclose all necessary information about a product to the prospective customers including the perils of using the product (John, 2013, 117). For instance, a firm advertising about steroids must give full disclosure about the health effects. Advertisers are responsible for ensuring their webpages have sound privacy policies. All advertisers have a moral obligation to regulate their online activity rather than being pushed by the Federal Trade commission. All advertisers should let the visitors be aware of any information obtained rather than doing it secretly. All businesses involved in behavioral advertising should also be cautious of the persons who visit their sites. They should do this by setting age limits for their sites according to the type of product. Setting an age limit ensures that information does not land into the wrong hands of underage children.
The FTCs regulations have greatly affected social media marketing. There exists a set of principles which framework the expected limits of advertisement. This has resulted in the social networks eliminating totally some of their advertisement platforms (Emerson, 2011, 357). Social media companies have also revised their privacy policies in line with the FTCs set standards.
The federal trade commission has surely succeeded in regulating behavioral advertising. They have continuously organized workshops to deliberate on the issue of consumer’s safety online. They have set principles that the online advertisers should emulate in their online works. The commission has also allowed self-regulation of companies rather than coercion. The commission has also succeeded in pushing the United States congress to create various legislations on this contentious issue (Edgar, 2013, 144). The commission has also taken an oversight of the social platforms which are known for abusing the privacy of their members especially using advertisements. The commission has also engaged technological experts in a wide research of new trends in behavioral advertisements that violate the consumers’ rights. On the other hand these measures have played a role in crippling the market study measures used by online marketers.
Various recommendations can be made to all the managers of companies. Technology should be utilized effectively to fetch advantage for the company. Managers should ensure they closely monitor the online marketing strategies used by their companies. Some workers who do not have long term goals of the company at heart may be tempted to misuse online advertisement platforms for their own personal gain. Marketing managers should engage employees on their line in educative measures. They should also come up with sound privacy policies to their websites and blogs. Constant consultation with the Federal Trade commission is also vital as it enables the company to remain abreast with the newly set advertisement principles revised time to time. No company would wish to be used as an example in indicating the dangers of violating the rights of online customers. Therefore all companies through the guidance of their managers should strictly adhere to the set principles on online advertising. This will ensure they achieve their marketing goals without any obstruction.
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