Viral Marketing Association Agrees Kids Should “Buzz Off.”

The Viral & Buzz Marketing Association has aligned itself with Massachusetts representative Mike Festa, who has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require that children get parental permission before participating in Buzz marketing efforts. The Bill focuses on online word-of-mouth programs that encourage children to “talk up” products or services to their friends in exchange for free gear.

Although the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) does not directly address viral marketing issues, it does require that marketers seek verifiable parental permission prior to marketing to children under the age of 13. The current bill would likely affect marketers who want to use children in their viral campaigns because it would effective increase the age — by three years — for which marketers would have to seek permission (at least for viral campaigns).

The growth of the Internet and increasing legislature to curb spam have given rise to an increase in viral marketing campaigns as a way of getting the message out without violating the CAN-SPAM Act, which went into effect in 2004. Although many companies do not use children to spread the word online, they do use children (often called “influencers”) to share products at school and with their friends. If the bill passes, it could mark a sea-change in the way companies appealing to kids market their products.

«

»

Permanent link to this article: http://cobaltlaw.com/viral-marketing-association-agrees-kids-should-buzz-off/