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I've noticed that many beer and spirits companies often require you to enter your date of birth before entering their site (ex. Budweiser.com).

Is this form legally required? Or is it just a popular convention?

If it isn't legally required/recommended, wouldn't it be a bad idea to funnel users through a form like this, just to see the content of your site?

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+1 for "Alcoholic Websites" –  Andres Jaan Tack Jul 10 '10 at 16:34
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The alcoholic beverage industry in the United States self-regulates its promotional efforts. Here's a PDF titled Self-Regulation in the Alcohol Industry from the Federal Trade Commission:

Underage alcohol use is a widespread problem with significant health and safety consequences. This is the third Federal Trade Commission report on efforts by the alcohol industry to reduce the likelihood that alcohol advertising will target youth, by its placement or content. This report provides data about how industry members allocate promotional dollars; data on compliance with the industry’s advertising placement standard (requiring that at least 70 percent of the audience for advertising consist of adults 21 and older); analysis of external review of advertising complaints; and an update on the FTC’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign. The report is based on the responses to Special Orders issued to twelve major alcohol suppliers, comments submitted in response to two Federal Register notices, and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders. It provides alcohol supplier data in an aggregate or anonymous fashion.

Basically, because of fallout from underage drinking, the industry makes an effort to place advertising only where 70% or more of the audience is adults 21 or older. Websites, as a promotional vehicle, need to assure that the audience for them is to an appropriate audience. They self-regulate as part of a long-term effort to assure that they are a responsible industry.

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Your links appear to have been truncated. –  Dennis Williamson Jul 9 '10 at 19:47
    
That's weird. Fixed. Could not replicate the truncation in SO. Probably on my end. Thanks! –  artlung Jul 9 '10 at 20:05
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I couldn't find any resources that stated that those forms are legally required.

Here's an article on the FTC website which talks about how alcohol companies have used this technique as a way to adhere to some industry guidelines.

http://www.ftc.gov/reports/alcohol/alcoholreport.shtm#bOnline%20Advertising

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