Q3 2012 Quick Links, Part 3 (Advertising, Privacy, Consumer Protection)

By Eric Goldman and Jake McGowan


* Marketing Land: Google Results Position: How Much is First Place Really Worth?

* Tom O’Toole recaps the ubiquity of text messaging marketing by NHL teams…and their need to clean up their privacy compliance.

* AdAge: Web Ads Target Based on What You Watched on TV

* CLRB Hanson v. Google settlement checks went out, and they are mockably small. Prior blog post.

* National big-brand advertisers may be skeptical of Facebook’s results, but some mom-and-pop businesses are loving “F-commerce.” Just remember, as the article says, “business owners should be aware that they do not own their Facebook pages — Facebook does, and it can change the appearance and rules whenever it wants.”  See, e.g., Complexions v. Complexions Day Spa (N.D.N.Y. 2011); Lown v. Piggy Paint (W.D. Mich. 2012).

* NAD: “weight-loss success stories “pinned” to [Pinterest] represent consumer testimonials and require the complete disclosure of material information. NAD further noted its appreciation that Nutrisystem took immediate steps to provide such disclosures.”

* Cases against laws school for false advertising are making little progress:

Phillips v. DePaul University: Another case over law school’s employment statistics tossed.

Macdonald v. Cooley. Rebecca’s coverage.

– Compare the California cases. Rebecca’s coverage.

* Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc., 2012 WL 3854012 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 4, 2012):

“The Court takes this opportunity to state that it will take no further action regarding the subject of payments by the litigants to commentators and journalists and reassures both sides that no commentary has in any way influenced the Court’s orders and ruling herein save and except for any treatise or article expressly cited in an order or ruling.”

Prior blog post.


San Jose Mercury News: Microsoft and Google battle for influence in the policy shadows

– Google vs. Microsoft: See who’s clashing behind the scenes.

Paul Levy: Judge Alsup’s ”Identify Your Shills” Order.

Spiegel: “Search engine giant Google officially opens its hip new Berlin office this week. But the company has long been active in the German capital in its bid to influence government Internet policy. Its subtle approach to lobbying involves building an opaque network of PR professionals, activists and academics — and its efforts are paying off. ”

* Australia expects advertisers to clean up their users’ Facebook comments at least once a day.

* Swatch, S.A. v. Beehive Wholesale, L.L.C., 2012 WL 3578942 (E.D. Va. August 16, 2012):

“The sole overlap in the Parties’ advertising is their use of the internet, in particular their internet stores. But that is no overlap at all. Though Swatch maintains a page on Facebook and a Twitter account, there is no evidence it purchases advertisements on any website. Neither does Beehive. The parties simply maintain stores on their corporate websites where individuals can purchase their products. When taken alone, however, internet stores are no more of an advertisement than a brick and mortar store front.”

* More allegations of “pay for play” against Yelp.

* WSJ on how movie studios are getting smarter about social media marketing and dealing with online word of mouth.


* TechCrunch: 5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses to Affect Your Privacy Decisions.

* Wired: Your Website Comes From 1,000 Places. Here’s How to Map Them.

* Incorp Services Inc. v. IncSmart.Biz Inc., No. 11-CV-4660-EJD-PSG, 2012 WL 3685994 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2012). Competitive click fraudding doesn’t violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act.

* Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit. I can imagine this department has only one raison d’etre: to crack skulls in Silicon Valley. Something to look forward to.

* Neeley v. NameMedia, Inc., 2012 WL 3135717 (W.D. Ark. August 1, 2012): Another loss in this ongoing saga, this time on grounds of res judicata and failure to state a claim.

* FTC Backs $22.5M Google Settlement Over Safari: Reuters. FTC. Recap of FTC’s Twitter chat on the Google settlement

* FTC Seeks Comments on Additional Proposed Revisions to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule

* Illinois Bill 3782: Another states restricts employers’ access to employees’ social media login credentials. Prior blog post on California’s similar law.

* Denouement of IMS v. Sorrell: Vermont is writing a $2.2M check to the statute challengers for attorneys’ fees. Vermont taxpayers got an expensive lesson in how their legislators can waste a lot of their money trying to suppress targeted advertising.

* FTC approves the Facebook settlement.

* FTC Finalizes Privacy Settlement with MySpace.

* The Deal Pipeline: “[Joshua] Wright is the first member of the social media generation nominated to the FTC and it will be interesting to see how the Democratic-controlled Senate reacts to his online prolificacy.”

Consumer Protection

* Drew v. Equifax (9th Cir. Aug. 7, 2012): identity theft victim’s lawsuit against credit reporting agencies revived.

* The ALI is starting up a project on a Restatements of Consumer Contracts.

* NY Times: Does price discrimination make consumers victims . . . or winners?

* Consumer Financial Protection Bureau makes $165M bust of Capital One. New cop on the beat.

* NY Times: After the big antitrust settlement by Visa and Mastercard, will there be any real changes for either merchants or consumers?