The Search Monitor, the leader in providing competitive ad intelligence to search and affiliate marketers, today announced a significant enhancement of its tools to monitor affiliate publishers and website landing pages. The new tools will help advertisers protect themselves against a recent increase in high-profile lawsuits against companies for deceptive advertising practices. The Federal Trade Commission and its new Director of the Consumer Protection Bureau, Jessica Rich, have made several recent announcements about the need to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive advertising practices. The most recent statementcame on January 7th when the FTC announced a new resolution to protect consumers from deceptive weight loss claims, many of which appear online. “In the last few years, we’ve seen more than 10 cases brought against websites by the FTC for deceptive advertising,” explained The Search Monitor’s CEO, Lori Weiman. “And since it’s often the affiliate—and not the advertiser—that’s committing the abuses, it’s a business necessity to constantly monitor affiliate activity for compliance.” Failure to monitor affiliate compliance can carry a heavy price tag. In 2012, the FTC fined one company $1 million and, according to the settlement, required them to “monitor affiliate marketers in their network to ensure that their statements are truthful and in compliance with federal advertising law.” The Search Monitor’s clients first had access to affiliate monitoring tools in 2007 and have used them to identify thousands of abuses. Abuses range from obvious ones, such as hijacking an advertiser’s URL in their ads, to harder-to-find ones that affiliates try to hide, such as deceptive coupon codes or shortened URLs for Twitter. “There are many highly regulated industries where advertisers need to know how their affiliates are representing them,” added Weiman. “The financial industry, especially with credit cards and mortgages, and the health industry, especially with prescription drugs and weight loss, are two high-profile examples. In these industries, an affiliate that does not comply with strictly enforced rules around promotional language can quickly land an advertiser in hot water with the FTC.”
The enhancements to The Search Monitor’s content monitoring tools include an increase in the number of sites monitored, a higher frequency of monitoring, faster alerting of violations, and better tools to summarize violations. The Search Monitor provides access to the marketing tactics, threat levels, marketing channels used, and merchant affiliations of more than 20,000 affiliates across 50 different affiliate networks.
The Search Monitor monitors paid search, organic search, social media, mobile search, and shopping engines worldwide for brand and affiliate compliance, and competitive intelligence. Interactive agencies, search marketers, and affiliate marketers use The Search Monitor to gather and analyze competitive information more effectively. Visit https://www.thesearchmonitor.com to learn more.