World Consumer Rights Day: A rundown of online marketing regulations – Affiliate Marketing Agency, Media, Training & Events

world consumer rights day, consumer rights, copyright, online marketing, affiliate marketing, advertising, regulations, social media marketing, sustainable business


March 15th is designated World Consumer Rights Day, which, frankly, a lot more businesses should follow and celebrate like Christmas. A refresher course on consumer rights can help you avoid any costly compliance mistakes, and create a better reputation for your brand that says you put your customers first.

Data

Data is a big issue due to the idea of consumer rights. The right to privacy, the right to be forgotten, etc. and as third-party cookies are phased out, regulation across the western world is getting phased in. We recently covered the US states’ equivalents of the EU’s GDPR regulations to see what is involved there.

So, what are these different requirements? Well, to sum up, we have a checklist of requirements for the CCPA.

  1. Publish a Privacy Policy that outlines how you are complying with CCPA rules and update it at least every 12 months.
  2. Inform users of how you use their personal data.
  3. Maintain a data inventory to track data processing history.
  4. Alert the user before or at the point of data collection, which would be those “Accept” and “Reject” buttons at the entrance of every website.
  5. Give users the right to access their data
  6. Explain how users can contact businesses to request to delete their personal data as part of the Right to Be Forgotten
  7. Outline the users’ rights under the CCPA
  8. Create a Do Not Sell My Personal Information page if you do sell personal information

Differences between the CCPA and the EU’s GDPR include the requirement to hire a Data Protection Officer to handle all of these regulations, creating a GDPR diary or Data Register, and constant evaluation, for instance when using new technology or tracking location or behaviour of new users, an instant report system in place for breaches, and avoiding pre-ticked boxes.

Find more information in our full breakdown of GDPR and CCPA here.

Endorsements

FTC is a big player in online marketing. If you’ve ever heard of a YouTube or TikTok scandal involving advertising, the chances are you’ve heard the name of the Federal Trade Commission, due to the fact that it laid the groundwork for online advertising regulation.

The FTC says of affiliate marketing: “If you use endorsements in your marketing, do they meet the standards of the FTC Act and the FTC’s Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (Endorsement Guides)? And what about social media influencers? If your business works with influencers or if you’re an influencer yourself, are you both taking the necessary steps to clearly disclose material connections? Find out more by consulting FTC compliance materials. You’ll also find resources about consumer reviews, including information about complying with the Consumer Review Fairness Act.”

Under “Soliciting and Paying for Online Reviews: A Guide for Marketers”, the FTC stresses that marketers should:

  • Read websites and platforms’ terms of service to understand if they prohibit paid sponsorships or not.
  • Do not ask for reviews from people who haven’t used the product, are staff of yours (another suspected problem with Oops?), are family or friends, or are incentivised with the condition that the review is positive.

Affiliate partners and influencers should also take note of the FTC’s guidelines, as they have a lot that applies to them, like:

“If you endorse a product through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship (“material connection”) with the brand. A “material connection” to the brand includes a personal, family, or employment relationship or a financial relationship – such as the brand paying you or giving you free or discounted products or services.

“As an influencer, it’s your responsibility to make these disclosures, to be familiar with the Endorsement Guides, and to comply with laws against deceptive ads. Don’t rely on others to do it for you.”

Practically, when it comes to your endorsement, you must outright say that it is sponsored, with “simple and clear” language. You can add hashtags like “#ad”, “#advertisement” or “#sponsored” as long as it is placed somewhere that’s hard to miss. Don’t be vague or confusing like saying “spon” instead of “sponsored” or “collab”, which can imply paid or not.

Find more detail of the FTC guidelines, and other non-US equivalents in our guide here.

Sustainable businesses

It’s no secret that Gen Z are considered little activists, and they are demanding better ideals from the brands they follow. Amongst their many crusades is the need for greener business practices, especially from large companies. So, marketing campaigns are proudly disclaiming that their products, their operations, or their charitable events are all green.

The problem here is that Consumers International disappointingly found out that around 40% of these claims are in fact misleading in some way.

Their site says: “The number of green claims made to consumers online has reached unprecedented levels, with studies suggesting that a proportion of these claims lack evidence.”

Under “What Needs to Happen Now?” Consumer International says: “At Stockholm+50 on Thursday 02 June our high-level event discussed five global priorities for leaders to make transparent and sustainable e-commerce a reality for consumers, including to:

  1. Set requirements for product sustainability information
  2. Allocate responsibilities for communicating product sustainability information
  3. Encourage sustainable consumer behaviours in e-commerce
  4. Strengthen the reliability of eco-labels
  5. Combat misleading green claims

These priorities should be supported by:

  1. Promoting consumer education and awareness about product sustainability aspects
  2. Strengthening the enforcement of consumer law
  3. Promoting a coherent policy framework on sustainable consumption

“Following our discussion, we are conducting a peer review on our toolkit for policymakers, lasting until Monday 20 June. Key stakeholders will be involved in the review and we will then publish a final version of the recommendations shortly thereafter.”

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice. Or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for the very best advice from industry peers, register to gain access to our Amplify Action Day. Taking place in January 2023 doesn’t mean you’ve missed it. Amplify aims to bring you the latest affiliate, performance, and partner marketing insights from across the globe and it’s all available to stream from our website.



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