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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is to gain new powers geared toward cleaning up the online marketing industry.

From 2011, the regulator will subject web-based promotions to the same rules as other areas of the media, allowing it to ban internet-based adverts which misrepresent products or services, reports the BBC.

The news could have particular bearing on the broadband marketing industry, which recently came under fire from Ofcom over the exaggeration of download speed capabilities.

Any internet service provider found to be promising unrealistic connection speeds over the web may face tougher sanctions.

The move was described as "a massive step forwards" by an ASA spokesperson.

"Consumers don't differentiate between adverts on TV or online and this ensures that claims online will be subject to the same strict scrutiny of those in traditional media," they told the news provider.

Some 3,500 advertising complaints were received by the ASA last year, but the regulator was unable to take action in more than half of the cases – simply because they were published online.

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