Guide to internet marketing
Things are always changing in the world of marketing and from 1st. of March 2011 folk in the UK will be able to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), relating to the content they find on commercial websites.
This means that the public can now make official objections about what they consider to be false, indecent or misleading information on any website.
In practice this means that even greater care needs to be taken regarding any statements that are made be it on your website, your blog, or any of the social media sites that you use that could be seen as marketing in any guise.
Whilst this is an area where I foresee many complaints coming through from disgruntled people and other marketers, fear not.
As the ASA’s guidelines state: ‘The guidelines simply set out standards that society has deemed necessary, through a process of consultation, to protect consumers and businesses alike. To that end, it promotes and preserves organisations’ right to advertise responsibly – and those that do shouldn’t find it burdensome to comply with……… It’s not there to catch you out or to unnecessarily curb what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Simply ask yourself whether all that you’re putting out is legal, decent, honest and truthful and that you’re happy to be fronting with all that you’re presenting, which, of course, for the vast majority of professionals, this is exactly what you’ve always been doing.
I understand from reports that the ASA has spent many months preparing for the new arrangements, including ramping up their staffing, and that they are anticipating significant numbers of new complaints.
As professionals I know that you take great care to get things right but in view of the new arrangements watch out for some high profile shenanigans.
For those not wanting to leave the blog I have set out a direct copy of what is currently being said by the ASA; if you want to see it for yourself go to the ASA’s website by clicking on the link.
New online remit for the ASA
The remit of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been extended significantly to deliver more comprehensive consumer protection online.
Our present remit online includes paid-for ads (such as pop-ups and banner ads) and sales promotions wherever they appear.
From March 1st 2011, the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) has applied in full to marketing messages online, including the rules relating to misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children. Journalistic and editorial content and material related to causes and ideas – except those that are direct solicitations of donations for fund-raising – are excluded from the remit.
Previously, our remit online was limited to paid-for ads (such as pop-ups and banner ads) and sales promotions wherever they appeared.
The new remit will ensure the same high standards as in other media and will cover:
• Advertisers’ own marketing messages on their own websites
• Marketing communications in other non-paid-for space under the advertiser’s control, such as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter
• Marketing communications on all UK websites, regardless of sector, type of businesses or size of organisation.
Anyone who is concerned about a marketing message within a website can contact the ASA in the usual way.
So there it is be warned and be aware.