At the beginning of December, the Federal Trade Commission plans to hold a native advertising workshop to discuss the format and what regulations and restrictions might need to be in place. Some feel that the format is too far outside of anything the FTC can regulate and that the workshop will end up being fruitless and maybe more destructive than helpful.
After all, native advertising has been stirring up controversy for a full year now because of how it blurs the lines between advertising content and editorial content.
Because there are currently no regulations on this kind of advertising, publishers get to choose how they label it and if they label it. The marketing world is fairly evenly divided on the “labeling issue”—that is, whether labeling content clearly enhances or detracts from the experience of the content.
Most experts agree that the FTC is not going to create or implement any regulations during the workshop, but are more interested in grasping the full concept of native advertising…which could be difficult, as few advertisers – even those who market the format to brands – can really define it satisfactorily.
Maybe a clear definition will be the final result of the workshop.