WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission announced Jan. 12 that, following a public comment period, the agency has issued a final order in the Victory Media case that resolves allegations that Victory Media deceptively promoted post-secondary schools to military consumers.
Victory Media operates magazines such as G.I. Jobs, the Guide to Military Friendly Schools, and Military Spouse, and manages websites that include militaryfriendly.com, militaryspouse.com and gijobs.com.
According to the FTC, Victory Media violated Section 5 of the FTC Act when, through company materials and tools, it deceptively promoted schools that paid it for promotions. Among these schools were allegedly ones Victory Media deemed to be “not military friendly.”
Victory Media had created a search tool to help service personnel find education choices that labeled schools as “military friendly.” The FTC said, however, that Victory Media only included schools in the search function that had paid Victory Media for inclusion.
The company allegedly endorsed schools in certain articles, emails and social media posts without disclosing that those schools had paid Victory Media for promotion.
Under the terms of the final order settling the charges, Victory Media is banned from misrepresenting paid promotional content regarding post-secondary schools. In addition, the company must not distort the scope of reach of its search tools, as well as any material connection the company maintains with schools that appear in its content. Victory Media must always properly disclose all material connection between the company and any post-secondary school it endorses.
The FTC voted 2-0 to approve the final consent order and letters to the public commenters.