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700+ Brands Put On Notice About Misleading Endorsements and Reviews

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The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent notices to over 700 companies about fake reviews and misleading endorsements. The notice states that receiving the letter does not suggest that the company is engaging in unlawful practices. The communication goes on to note that violating FTC guidelines could result in penalties up to $43,792 per violation.

The FTC notice states that it is not suggesting that the companies have engaged in the deceptive practices.

But the notice itself is ominously titled, “the Federal Trade Commission’s Notice of Penalty Offenses Concerning Deceptive or Unfair Conduct around Endorsements and Testimonials” while also stating the purpose as  putting “your company on notice.

Companies Not Singled Out?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notice claims that the companies are not being singled out.

Yet the FTC seems to have done exactly that by publishing a public list that singles out the companies that were sent the notice.

Many of the companies on the list are some of the most prestigious brands and marketing agencies in the world are on that list.

This is the wording in the sample letter:

“Receipt of the notice puts your company on notice that engaging in conduct described therein could subject the company to civil penalties of up to $43,792 per violation.1

We request that you distribute copies of the notice of penalty offenses and this letter to each of your subsidiaries that sells or markets products or services to consumers in the United
States.

FTC staff is not singling out your company or suggesting that you have engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct.

We are widely distributing similar letters and the notice to large companies, top advertisers, leading retailers, top consumer product companies, and major advertising agencies.”

Endorsements, Influencers and Reviews

An area of concern for the FTC is in the rise of social media and the monetization of endorsements and reviews by influencers.

The FTC announcement described the problem:

“The rise of social media has blurred the line between authentic content and advertising, leading to an explosion in deceptive endorsements across the marketplace. Fake online reviews and other deceptive endorsements often tout products throughout the online world.

Fake reviews and other forms of deceptive endorsements cheat consumers and undercut honest businesses…  Advertisers will pay a price if they engage in these deceptive practices.”

Some of the activities that the FTC is warning about involves generating endorsements and reviews in a deceptive or misleading manner.

The list of companies that were sent the warning letter consist of big brands such as 1-800-Flowers and some of the biggest marketing agencies in the world, like The Ogilvy Group LLC.

The FTC announcement stated that action was needed because of the rise of social media and the subsequent commerce in endorsements and reviews that the FTC claims are deceptive.

Social media contests and reviews are two of several kinds of deceptive practices called out by the FTC’s Endorsement Guide.

Social Media Contests

The guidance specifically mentions requiring the public to tweet with a specific hashtag as part of contest as a deceptive practice and offers suggestions of a better way to do it that offers better disclosure that something of value (a chance to win a prize) was the reason for the tweet or post.

Paid Reviews

Another example is of a YouTube creator that is contracted by Video Game companies to publish reviews by gamers. The FTC guidelines states that it is important to disclose that an exchange of money had occurred.

The FTC guide is largely in the form of a question and answer FAQ.

Here’s the section about the YouTube creator:

“I’m doing a review of a videogame that hasn’t been released yet. The manufacturer is paying me to try the game and review it. I was planning on disclosing that the manufacturer gave me a “sneak peek” of the game. Isn’t that enough to put people on notice of my relationship to the manufacturer?

No, it’s not. Getting early access doesn’t mean that you got paid. Getting a “sneak peek” of the game doesn’t even mean that you get to keep the game. If you get early access, you can say that, but if you get to keep the game or are paid, you should say so.”

Public List of Companies Receiving a Warning

The FTC published a PDF with the names of all the companies who are receiving warnings.

There is a prominent disclosure at the top of the document that states that the list is not meant to indicate that the companies did anything wrong.

This is the statement:

“The fact that a company is on this list is NOT an indication that it has done anything wrong”

There are many well known names on the list across a variety of industries.

Travel and Hospitality Companies Sent a Notice

  • TripAdvisor, Inc
  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc.
  • Howard Johnson International Inc
  • Holiday Inn
  • Hyatt Hotels Corp.
  • Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
  • Ramada Worldwide Inc.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc

User Reviews and Recommendation Sites:

  • Angi Inc.
  • HomeAdvisor Inc.
  • Yelp, Inc.

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Popular Brands that Received Notice

  • Airbnb, Inc.
  • Apple Inc.
  • AutoNation Inc.
  • Autotrader.com
  • eBay Inc.
  • Google Fiber Inc.
  • Google LLC
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • YouTube LLC
  • Zillow Group, Inc

Be Aware of the United States FTC Guidelines

The action targets the following but is not limited to these kinds of activities:

“…falsely claiming an endorsement by a third party; misrepresenting whether an endorser is an actual, current, or recent user; using an endorsement to make deceptive performance claims; failing to disclose an unexpected material connection with an endorser; and misrepresenting that the experience of endorsers represents consumers’ typical or ordinary experience.”

Businesses that engage in social media and influencer marketing activities, advertising, affiliate marketing and reviews should consider reading the FTC announcement and follow the links to the published guidance on how to properly advertise through these mediums.

Citations

FTC Puts Hundreds of Businesses on Notice about Fake Reviews and Other Misleading Endorsements

PDF: Sample Letter – Unlawful Practices Relating to the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials

PDF: List of October 2021 Recipients of the FTC’s Notice of Penalty Offenses Concerning Deceptive or Unfair Conduct around Endorsements and Testimonials

THE FTC’S ENDORSEMENT GUIDES: WHAT PEOPLE ARE ASKING

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FACEBOOK

Facebook Faces Yet Another Outage: Platform Encounters Technical Issues Again

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Facebook Problem Again

Uppdated: It seems that today’s issues with Facebook haven’t affected as many users as the last time. A smaller group of people appears to be impacted this time around, which is a relief compared to the larger incident before. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating for those affected, and hopefully, the issues will be resolved soon by the Facebook team.

Facebook had another problem today (March 20, 2024). According to Downdetector, a website that shows when other websites are not working, many people had trouble using Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has had issues. Just a little while ago, there was another problem that stopped people from using the site. Today, when people tried to use Facebook, it didn’t work like it should. People couldn’t see their friends’ posts, and sometimes the website wouldn’t even load.

Downdetector, which watches out for problems on websites, showed that lots of people were having trouble with Facebook. People from all over the world said they couldn’t use the site, and they were not happy about it.

When websites like Facebook have problems, it affects a lot of people. It’s not just about not being able to see posts or chat with friends. It can also impact businesses that use Facebook to reach customers.

Since Facebook owns Messenger and Instagram, the problems with Facebook also meant that people had trouble using these apps. It made the situation even more frustrating for many users, who rely on these apps to stay connected with others.

During this recent problem, one thing is obvious: the internet is always changing, and even big websites like Facebook can have problems. While people wait for Facebook to fix the issue, it shows us how easily things online can go wrong. It’s a good reminder that we should have backup plans for staying connected online, just in case something like this happens again.

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NEWS

We asked ChatGPT what will be Google (GOOG) stock price for 2030

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We asked ChatGPT what will be Google (GOOG) stock price for 2030

Investors who have invested in Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) stock have reaped significant benefits from the company’s robust financial performance over the last five years. Google’s dominance in the online advertising market has been a key driver of the company’s consistent revenue growth and impressive profit margins.

In addition, Google has expanded its operations into related fields such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. These areas show great promise as future growth drivers, making them increasingly attractive to investors. Notably, Alphabet’s stock price has been rising due to investor interest in the company’s recent initiatives in the fast-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI), adding generative AI features to Gmail and Google Docs.

However, when it comes to predicting the future pricing of a corporation like Google, there are many factors to consider. With this in mind, Finbold turned to the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT to suggest a likely pricing range for GOOG stock by 2030. Although the tool was unable to give a definitive price range, it did note the following:

“Over the long term, Google has a track record of strong financial performance and has shown an ability to adapt to changing market conditions. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that Google’s stock price may continue to appreciate over time.”

GOOG stock price prediction

While attempting to estimate the price range of future transactions, it is essential to consider a variety of measures in addition to the AI chat tool, which includes deep learning algorithms and stock market experts.

Finbold collected forecasts provided by CoinPriceForecast, a finance prediction tool that utilizes machine self-learning technology, to anticipate Google stock price by the end of 2030 to compare with ChatGPT’s projection.

According to the most recent long-term estimate, which Finbold obtained on March 20, the price of Google will rise beyond $200 in 2030 and touch $247 by the end of the year, which would indicate a 141% gain from today to the end of the year.

2030 GOOG price prediction: Source: CoinPriceForecast

Google has been assigned a recommendation of ‘strong buy’ by the majority of analysts working on Wall Street for a more near-term time frame. Significantly, 36 analysts of the 48 have recommended a “strong buy,” while seven people have advocated a “buy.” The remaining five analysts had given a ‘hold’ rating.

1679313229 737 We asked ChatGPT what will be Google GOOG stock price
Wall Street GOOG 12-month price prediction: Source: TradingView

The average price projection for Alphabet stock over the last three months has been $125.32; this objective represents a 22.31% upside from its current price. It’s interesting to note that the maximum price forecast for the next year is $160, representing a gain of 56.16% from the stock’s current price of $102.46.

While the outlook for Google stock may be positive, it’s important to keep in mind that some potential challenges and risks could impact its performance, including competition from ChatGPT itself, which could affect Google’s price.


Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.

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This Apple Watch app brings ChatGPT to your wrist — here’s why you want it

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Apple Watch Series 8

ChatGPT feels like it is everywhere at the moment; the AI-powered tool is rapidly starting to feel like internet connected home devices where you are left wondering if your flower pot really needed Bluetooth. However, after hearing about a new Apple Watch app that brings ChatGPT to your favorite wrist computer, I’m actually convinced this one is worth checking out.

The new app is called watchGPT and as I tipped off already, it gives you access to ChatGPT from your Apple Watch. Now the $10,000 question (or more accurately the $3.99 question, as that is the one-time cost of the app) is why having ChatGPT on your wrist is remotely necessary, so let’s dive into what exactly the app can do.

What can watchGPT do?

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