Tuesday, December 12, 2006

:: adgruntie :: FTC leaves WOM alone

+ The FTC rejects Consumer Alert's call for a full-scale probe of word-of-mouth marketing, the controversial practice that tries to turn ordinary consumers' affection for products and brands into free advertising.
Commercial Alert Executive Director Gary Ruskin blasted the FTC's decision, saying in a release the FTC gave word-of-mouth marketing a "giant Christmas present."

"Instead of acting like a watchdog, the commission is more like a docile lapdog nestled in the lap of its corporate masters," he said, adding that he was hopeful the FTC's willingness to act on individual cases would send a strong warning.

The ruling comes during the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's annual summit in Washington. WOMMA officials praised the FTC for turning down the request and said they agreed with pursuing case-by-case prosecution, noting that stealth marketing violates the group's guidelines. Ms. Engle is expected to speak at the conference tomorrow.

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