As anyone who has been through a corporate sale process can tell you, there is no such thing as a “standard” M&A transaction.  Every deal is different and presents a unique set of challenges.  This is especially true of transactions involving lead generation companies, which can be very different than businesses in other industries.  Amongst other differences, companies in this space utilize a wide variety of customized commercial arrangements and are subject to numerous industry-specific regulatory requirements that buyers need to be aware of before making an investment in this space.  In this article, we highlight the top 10 issues that buyer should diligence when considering acquiring a lead generation company.  Sellers in this space should focus on eliminating any issues in these areas as well to make them a more attractive acquisition target.
Continue Reading Top 10 Diligence Issues in Lead Generation Mergers and Acquisitions

We recently wrote about the Children’s Advertising Review Unit’s privacy-related enforcement against two mobile apps for children on our Eye on Privacy blog. But there’s more! CARU also took action based on several advertising-related violations.

For the first app, “My Talking Tom,” CARU addressed in-app advertisements to children. Under CARU’s Guidelines the “net impression” of an ad directed to children must not be misleading, must not blur the distinction between ad and game content, and must not advertise products that pose safety risks or portray inappropriate behavior. CARU identified several ads that promoted inappropriate products and services, others that did not contain adequate disclosures, and still others that contained content that appeared to be an integral part of the game, rather than ad content. CARU issued its decision on these issues, and the game operator modified the ad positioning and disclosures. CARU took no further action on these issues.
Continue Reading CARU Takes Action Against Two More Mobile Apps

The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program recently warned that it will require interest-based video ads to provide transparency and control to viewers by April 1, 2018.

The Accountability Program, a service of the Better Business Bureau that regulates online behavioral advertising, has previously enforced the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory principles for interest-based advertising (DAA Principles) with respect to behavioral advertising across websites, mobile apps and across multiple devices associated with the same person, but it has refrained from enforcing the principles with respect to online video ads to allow the video ad marketplace to innovate and mature. Due to the exponential growth of online video ad spend, the Accountability Program says that the time is now right to set a date for enforcement.
Continue Reading New Compliance Warning: Interest-Based Video Ads Must Provide Notice and Choice

Two recent judgements against Dish Network LLC (“Dish”) for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and similar state and federal laws demonstrate the significant liability companies may face based on the actions of their third-party contractors. Dish has been ordered to pay a total of approximately $341 million in two separate federal court actions related to TCPA violations committed by its marketing service providers. Both cases underscore the importance of maintaining strong vendor oversight in the highly regulated telemarketing industry.
Continue Reading Dish Network to Dish Out $341M for TCPA Violations

This is not a drill.

Companies and law enforcement agencies around the world have been left scrambling after the world’s most prolific ransomware attack hit over 500,000 computers in 150 countries over a span of only 4 days. The ransomware – called WannaCry, WCry, WannaCrypt, or WannaDecryptor – infects vulnerable computers and encrypts all of the data. The owner or user of the computer is then faced with an ominous screen, displaying a countdown timer and demand that a ransom of $300 be paid in bitcoin before the owner can regain access to the encrypted data. The price demanded increases over time until the end of the countdown, when the files are permanently destroyed. To date, the total amount of ransom paid by companies is reported to be less than $60,000, indicating that companies are opting to let their files be destroyed and to rely instead on backups rather than pay the attackers. Nevertheless, the total disruption costs to businesses is expected to range from the hundreds of millions to the billions of dollars.
Continue Reading WannaCry Ransomware Alert

Enforcement of the Digital Advertising Alliance “Application of the Principles of Transparency and Control to Data Used Across Devices” (DAA Cross-Device Principles) officially began on February 1, just a week after the FTC issued a staff report discussing the application of the FTC Online Behavioral Advertising Principles in the context of “Cross Device Tracking” and suggesting that the DAA Cross-Device Principles, while commendable, could be stronger.
Continue Reading FTC / DAA Extend Data Privacy Focus to Cross-Device Tracking

We’ve all done it: typed or tapped out a message, posted it online, and immediately wished we hadn’t and that we could just erase it from the Internet forever. Now, if you are a California minor, you can. Sort of.

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law S.B. 568, the first bill of its kind in the nation. S.B. 568 enacts two new statutes under the title “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World.” The first, Business and Professions Code section 22580, prohibits advertising certain products to minors online (see blog post here).  The second, Business and Professions Code section 22581, requires businesses to provide an online “eraser button” for remorseful minors.


Continue Reading Rash California Minors Get An Online “Eraser Button”

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law S.B. 568, the first bill of its kind in the nation. S.B. 568 enacts two new statutes under the title “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World.” The first, Business and Professions Code section 22580, prohibits advertising certain products to minors online. The second, Business and Professions Code section 22581, requires businesses to provide an online “eraser button” for remorseful minors (see blog post here).
Continue Reading Products or Services That Cannot Be Sold To California Minors Cannot Be Advertised To Them Online, Either

As part of a flurry of new privacy legislation, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two new data privacy bills into law on September 27, 2013: S.B. 46 amending California’s data security breach notification law and A.B. 370 regarding disclosure of “do not track” and other tracking practices in online privacy policies. Both laws will come into effect on January 1, 2014.
Continue Reading California Enacts New Data Privacy Laws

Many companies operating commercial websites and online services will likely need to update their privacy policies soon to comply with new requirements in California. After passing the Assembly and the Senate in a series of unanimous votes, A.B. 370 is now before the Governor for signature, which is expected soon.
Continue Reading California Online Tracking Disclosure Bill Heads to Governor for Signature