ASA expands remit to cover more website promotion tactics
Wednesday, March 02 2011 by Steve Swallow
Shoddy website promotion and unfavourable managed emarketing campaigns will be targeted under new legislation designed to protect the public from less scrupulous online resources, taking effect as of the beginning of this month.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced that its remit has been extended to cover marketing claims made by company websites and through other non-paid digital spaces, going into effect on March 1st.
As it stood before the change, the ASA had the authority to regulate paid-for advertising on websites, including pop-up ads, paid search techniques and banner ads. Now, however, regulations are in place to address non-paid marketing online.
Since 2008, the ASA has received well over 4,500 complaints about this form of managed emarketing on the web and a recommendation from the UK advertising industry was heeded as part of the decision to expand legislative protection to consumers.
Now, all UK-based company websites will be governed by the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, regardless of what sector they operate in or the size of the organisation. Rules will prevent ads that mislead, harm or offend.
The ASA explained: "Advertising self-regulation has been successful in keeping advertising standards high for almost 50 years. Our new online remit shows that we are continuing to keep pace with changes in technology for the benefit of consumers, business and society."
It will enforce sanctions against companies in a number of ways, should there be a breach; this includes a simple naming and shaming of the company, the removal of any paid-for search advertising that links to the website which offends, or buying advertising to highlight the advertiser's lack of compliance.
As it stands, the ASA's authority is recognised by the government, courts, regulators including the Office of Fair Trading and Office of Communications and the media as the established agency for consumer protection from misleading advertising.
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