Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ftc, Moon Firm Settle on Veterans Issue

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ftc, Moon Firm Settle on Veterans Issue

Article excerpt

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement agreement with Victory Media following an investigation of the Moon company for practices used to recommend schools to military veterans.

In a complaint, the FTC said Victory Media included schools in search tools, social media posts and articles if the schools paid to be endorsed - even if they did not meet the company's criteria for being "military-friendly."

Founded in 2001 by a trio of U.S. Navy veterans, privately held Victory Media publishes magazines and digital resources to help veterans find employment and educational opportunities when they transition out of the military.

Its products include G.I. Jobs, Guide to Military Friendly Schools, and Military Spouse, which have a combined print circulation of 145,000, according to the FTC. The publications are distributed at military bases and veterans medical centers and are also published online.

Terms of the settlement call for Victory Media to prominently disclose in its materials whether organizations paid the company to be endorsed.

The federal agency did not impose any fines on the company.

"They asked us to continue to work to be more clear and conspicuous with disclosures," Victory Media said in a statement. "Since their remedy was not in conflict with any of our business practices, it was an easy decision to accept."

The company has about 45 employees, and 40 percent are veterans, Victory Media said.

Specifically, the FTC complaint targeted the company's digital "Matchmaker" tool, which was a search function for post-secondary schools on the G.I. Jobs website.

Schools that received the "military-friendly" designation were supposed to be included based on data about degrees they offer, credit for military hours and other information. The criteria also included voluntary surveys completed by the schools. …

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