User-Generated Marketing: Legal Implications when Word-of-Mouth goes Viral

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article discusses legal implications for businesses which engage in viral marketing. In the wake of the adoption of social media such as Facebook and YouTube, viral marketing has become much cheaper, which in combination with an increased trust in other people’s opinions makes viral marketing very efficient and widespread. The article focuses on EU legislation concerning identification of marketing, unsolicited commercial messages, and marketing buzz. The nature and quality of the business’ encouragement of private individuals to spread its marketing material is essential in determining whether the business is liable for activities carried out by private individuals. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive adopts a tradition of applying an average-consumer-test, which in the light of the low-cost communication platforms utilised for viral marketing is likely to lead to lawful deception of a large amount of consumers.
This article discusses legal implications for businesses which engage in viral marketing. In the wake of the adoption of social media such as Facebook and YouTube, viral marketing has become much cheaper, which in combination with an increased trust in other people’s opinions makes viral marketing very efficient and widespread. The article focuses on EU legislation concerning identification of marketing, unsolicited commercial messages, and marketing buzz. The nature and quality of the business’ encouragement of private individuals to spread its marketing material is essential in determining whether the business is liable for activities carried out by private individuals. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive adopts a tradition of applying an average-consumer-test, which in the light of the low-cost communication platforms utilised for viral marketing is likely to lead to lawful deception of a large amount of consumers.
LanguageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Information Technology
Volume20
Pages1-33
ISSN0967-0769
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Viral Marketing
  • Unfair Commercial Practices
  • User-generated marketing
  • Social Media
  • Average Consumer

Cite this

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title = "User-Generated Marketing: Legal Implications when Word-of-Mouth goes Viral",
abstract = "This article discusses legal implications for businesses which engage in viral marketing. In the wake of the adoption of social media such as Facebook and YouTube, viral marketing has become much cheaper, which in combination with an increased trust in other people’s opinions makes viral marketing very efficient and widespread. The article focuses on EU legislation concerning identification of marketing, unsolicited commercial messages, and marketing buzz. The nature and quality of the business’ encouragement of private individuals to spread its marketing material is essential in determining whether the business is liable for activities carried out by private individuals. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive adopts a tradition of applying an average-consumer-test, which in the light of the low-cost communication platforms utilised for viral marketing is likely to lead to lawful deception of a large amount of consumers.",
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User-Generated Marketing : Legal Implications when Word-of-Mouth goes Viral. / Trzaskowski, Jan.

In: International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Vol. 20, 2011, p. 1-33.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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