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Small Businesses Voice Frustration With FTC’s Data Collection Proposals

Washington, DC (November 21, 2022): Several small businesses that use digital advertising and social media to find customers to grow their businesses recently urged the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that potential new data collection regulations will not make free and low-cost digital tools less effective or more expensive. The businesses filed comments in an FTC proceeding that they fear could upset the online ecosystem that today works so well for small businesses. 

“Many of our clients are small, local businesses eager to promote their brands and find more customers online,” wrote Gabe Silverman, a digital marketing consultant who runs Gecko Designs in Missoula, MT. “If the Commission changes important rules – including limiting how online platforms and ad-tech services collect, process, and utilize data – I’m concerned it will undermine advertising and marketing effectiveness, costing small businesses money and customers.”

A Connected Commerce Council study shows that small businesses that doubled down on digital tools during COVID-19 earned more money and hired more workers than other businesses. The study estimates that digital tools, including affordable online advertising, prevented roughly 11 million small businesses from closing. 

“Data collection is not ‘surveillance,’ as the FTC suggests,” said Rob Retzlaff, Executive Director of the Connected Commerce Council. “Data-powered ads help small businesses locate potential customers interested in a particular product or service. Government forcing data collection rules to change could severely harm the digital economy and damage small businesses.”

Additional small businesses that submitted comments include:

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