Ad watchdog to bite Facebook, Twitter
ASA extends tentacles online
The Advertising Standards Authority is to take responsibility for more online content, not just the paid-for advertisements it currently regulates.
The ASA already covers content like banner adverts, pop-ups and paid-for search terms. From 1 March 2011 the new ASA rules cover content hosted by companies themselves, such as their own websites.
From 2008 to 2009 the ASA rejected 3,500 complaints about websites because they fell outside its remit. In 2009 the body received just short of 30,000 complaints.
The ad watchdog will also consider user-generated content under some circumstances - if companies solicit such content then use it as a marketing tool, or if such material is given over unsolicited and then used by the company for marketing purposes.
The decision to extend the Committee of Advertising Practice Code was taken in response to an industry-wide formal recommendation.
Some material will remain outside the remit of the ASA. This includes press releases and PR material, classified adverts, political adverts, editorial content and corporate reports.
Investor relations material is now explicitly excluded, as is "heritage advertising" - old adverts which might not comply with ASA rules but are not part of current promotional campaigns - like "Guinness is good for you", we guess.
All this will be paid for by levying a 0.1 per cent levy on paid-for adverts appearing on search engines. This will be kick-started by seed capital from Google.
The ASA gets two new powers to go with its new remit. It can ask search engines to remove links to non-compliant pages and may place its own paid-for adverts to highlight a company's failure to comply.
The ASA press release is here. ®
Drove my levy to the levy but the levy was levied
"All this will be paid for by levying a 0.1 per cent levy"
They'll be ruling rules next.
Members can opt-out of online adverts
In 2008 the Information Commissioner's Office concluded that online advertising appearing in a logged-in web space constitutes direct marketing. This is because a connection must exist between the online user and a database containing their personal data for the individual to be logged in. Thus, it is similar to putting a marketing leaflet inside an envelope and addressing that envelope to an indiviudal - the generic marketing leaflet inside the envelope is considered to be direct marketing even though the leaflet itself is not targeted at anyone. Howerver, because the method used to deliver the leaflet was directed at an individual, then the leaflet too becomes direct marketing. It's the exact same principle in a logged-in account area.
If you're fed-up with direct marketing simply submit a Section 11(DPA98) notice to the organisation. Further information can be found on www.mindmydata.co.uk.
'Truth is subjective' websites
Hopefully this ruling will stop some of the more blatant websites that offer 'home businesses' and the like. Some of the claims made on these sites regarding how much money can be made and how many people have been successful etc are just downright lies and amount to deception and fraud.
Yes I know people should be wary, but if you were a stay-at-home mum with young kids, wouldent you be tempted by a 'business in a box' affair wrapping chocolate bars for parties and weddings and so on. Spend a few hundred precious quid or more for the box and find out the hard way that it takes ten times the effort claimed, so not 'easy' at all!
Loads of sites around like this and some companies have several 'franchises' like this running at the same time.