ValueClick To Pay $2.9 Million To Settle FTC Probe

ValueClick agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission probe about lead generation, the company said Wednesday.

ValueClick also promised to adhere to guidelines regarding lead generation, which often involves luring customers to sign up for services with offers of "free" merchandise.

"We have worked with the FTC and have reached an agreement on the standards and practices that will govern our lead generation business going forward," David Yovanno, chief operating officer of the company's U.S. Media division, said in a statement. "We believe this settlement will also help set the guidelines for the lead generation industry as a whole."

ValueClick did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The company did not specify the new standards it agreed to in its settlement with the FTC. But the FTC in two previous settlements regarding lead generation required that companies advertising free products also display any purchase-required disclaimers in the same font, color and size as the word "free."

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently unveiled its own best practices guide for online lead generation that also recommend that companies offering "free" iPods and the like also display disclaimers that purchases are required in the same font, color and size as "free."

But the IAB suggested less stringent requirements whereby consumers don't need to spend money to obtain the free merchandise, such as where all that's required is a free trial subscription. In those cases, the IAB recommends that disclaimers only be in the same font and color--and not the same size--as the word "free."

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