2H 2017 & Q1 2018 Quick Links, Part 5: Marketing, Advertising, Retailing


* Washington Post: See the cool kids lined up outside that new restaurant? This app pays them to stand there.

* AdWeek: Burger King Dug Up a Bunch of Tweets From People Complaining About Wendy’s and Turned Them Into Ads

* NY Times: The Follower Factory

* TINA.org: “Since 2011, there have been at least 10 FTC investigations involving social media influencer marketing. In five of these cases, the FTC entered into consent orders with the companies, with one case targeting the company’s marketing agency. Each case resolution required compliance and monitoring from the companies but none required any payment of money to consumers. In the other five cases, the FTC elected not to bring charges against the companies after its investigations. (In its latest action, in April 2017, the FTC sent more than 90 educational letters to social media influencers and marketers concerning their legal disclosure obligations.) To date, no FTC action has been taken directly against an influencer.”

* FTC: Blurred Lines:  An Exploration of Consumers’ Advertising Recognition in the Contexts of Search Engines and Native Advertising: “using disclosures that are consistent with FTC staff’s guidance can improve the likelihood that consumers will recognize an ad as an ad. Across the different ads we tested – after controlling for the influence of other factors such as the type of ad, an individual participant’s tendency to recognize or not recognize ads, and the order in which a participant saw the ads – the disclosure modifications substantially increased the likelihood that a participant recognized an ad as an ad. The improvements observed were substantially similar across search and native ads, as well as between ads viewed on a desktop and on a smartphone. Even with the improved disclosures, a significant percentage of participants still did not recognize some ads as ads.”

* The Outline: How Brands Secretly Buy Their Way Into Forbes, Fast Company, and Huffpost Stories

* Freedom to Tinker: Is affiliate marketing disclosed to consumers on social media?

* Digiday: Refinery29 “began selling advertisers the opportunity to set up shop inside its offices. More recently, it has begun selling influencer campaigns that includes sponsored posts created by editorial staffers.”

* The Atlantic: The People Who Read Your Airline Tweets

* In Re: Subway Footlong Sandwich Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, 2017 WL 3666635 (7th Cir. Aug. 25, 2017): “Because the settlement yields fees for class counsel and “zero benefits for the class,” the class should not have been certified and the settlement should not have been approved.” Related post.

* Recorder: Uber Files $50M Fraud Suit Against Digital Ad Agency. Allegations of download fraud

* Bloomberg: How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet:

affiliates were happy to detail their tricks. They told me that Facebook had revolutionized scamming. The company built tools with its trove of user data that made it the go-to platform for big brands. Affiliates hijacked them. Facebook’s targeting algorithm is so powerful, they said, they don’t need to identify suckers themselves—Facebook does it automatically. And they boasted that Russia’s dezinformatsiya agents were using tactics their community had pioneered.

* Bloomberg: “There are more than a dozen Facebook employees writing Mark Zuckerberg’s posts or scouring the comments for spammers and trolls”

* The Atlantic: “The canned pumpkin you buy in the grocery store often contains little to no amount of the bright-orange, jack-o’-lantern kind of pumpkin. So what, exactly, is in there? And does it still count as a pumpkin?”

* Cracked: 5 Myths About Food You Believe Thanks To Jerk Companies

* Cracked: 5 Words On Food Labels You Shouldn’t Get Fooled By

Political Ads

* Wired: To Fix Its Toxic Ad Problem, Facebook Must Break Itself

* NY Times: Facebook’s Ad-Targeting Problem, Captured in a Literal Shade of Gray

* Twitter: New Transparency For Ads on Twitter. Facebook: Update on Our Advertising Transparency and Authenticity Efforts

* Digiday: Why political ads on Facebook will still slip by human reviewers

* Politico: How Facebook, Google and Twitter ’embeds’ helped Trump in 2016

* Politico: Inside the Elizabeth Warren merchandising empire

* Wired: How Russia ‘Pushed Our Buttons’ With Fake Online Ads

* EFF explains why online political ads shouldn’t be regulated like broadcast political ads


* CNBC: Amazon was tricked by a fake law firm into removing a hot product, costing this seller $200,000

* Launch of eBay Authenticate™ Boosts Shopper Confidence for Luxury Handbag Purchases: New Authentication Service Verifies, Lists and Sells Luxury Handbags for 12 High-End Brands on Behalf of Sellers

* San Francisco Chronicle: Airbnb loses thousands of hosts in SF as registration rules kick in

* San Francisco Chronicle:  “Under the threat of huge penalties, Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey and others have jettisoned hosts who ignored the city’s registration requirement for short-term rentals. That’s dramatically revamped the universe of listings, erasing more than half, tilting the market even more toward Airbnb, easing enforcement of local laws, and returning some rental units to a city that desperately needs them.”

* Racked: Why Notoriously Litigious Disney Is Letting Fan Stores Thrive

* NY Times: Inside the Revolution at Etsy

* Ars Technica: Feds in California are aggressively going after Silk Road, AlphaBay vendors

* Bloomberg: China’s Grocery Trolls Make Giant Piggy Banks of Wal-Mart and Carrefour

* The Atlantic: The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed

* Eater: What Brands Are Actually Behind Trader Joe’s Snacks?