Do Your Web Adverts Follow Best Practice?

Whether you are advertising on another person's website or hosting advertisements from a third-party on your own site, you need to define the contract relationship between you and the other party. You must make sure that advertisements are legal, decent, honest and true. Otherwise, you may find yourself in trouble.

Here we give you a quick overview of best practices to consider when publishing your web adverts...

In the United Kingdom, the Advertising Standards Authority oversees website advertising rules through the CAP Advertising Codes. The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) write and support the UK Advertising Codes, which the Advertising Standards Authority administers. CAP also offers the industry authoritative advice and guidance on how to create campaigns that comply with the rules.The Advertising Standards Authority is the self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom. The ASA is a non-statutory organisation and so cannot interpret or enforce legislation.

The guiding principle for all online advertisements is that they are legal, decent, honest and true. Think also about how you are advertising to children, pharmaceutical products, and other restricted items. You must also take into account the local laws in the country where users can use your website as well as the type of user. For example, France has banned the sale of Nazi memorabilia whilst Germany has outlawed comparative advertising.

3rd party advertising on your website

business protection regulations, Google Project, Online Advertising, Social Media MarketingSome organisations have a web presence without directly selling goods and services. However, they may allow a 3rd party organisation to use their website for advertising their goods and services. Draw up a written agreement setting out the terms for placing the web advertisement. Both parties should sign the contract and a copy retained by each, and include

(a) a clear specification of the desired form of the advertisement (e.g. agreed place if the advertisement on page/web, its colours and graphics quality)

(b) how long the arrangement between parties will last.

(c) a clear specification for payment (e.g. fixed fee or fee based on proof number of site visitors)

(d) terms to make sure your organisation does not incur any liability for the advertisement’s content

(e) terms to grant the web site owner all necessary licenses of Intellectual Property rights for use on the site.

(f) terms to indemnify the web site owner for any liability against Intellectual Property or other claims

(g) an appropriate disclaimer on the website accepting no liability for advertisement content.

Make sure advertisements are true, not misleading, and might be subject to further sector controls, e.g. financial services.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority has the power to apply to the courts for an injunction against any advertiser that breaks the rules.

Advertising on a 3rd party website

Organisations often wish to advertise their own goods and services on websites owned by a 3rd party. Draw up a written agreement setting out the terms for placing the advertisement. Both parties should sign the contract and a copy retained by each. Include:

(a) a clear specification of the desired form of the advertisement (e.g. agreed place of the advertisement on a  page/web, its colours and graphics quality)

(b) how long the arrangement between parties will last.

(c) a clear specification for payment (e.g. fixed fee or fee based on the number of site visitors (including calculation/proof)

(d) a clear statement that the advert owner may not display it in proximity to unsuitable material

(e) a 3rd party disclaimer stating that the offer is not open to customers based in a country or jurisdiction where it is known the advertisement might infringe local laws, e.g. Germany has special rules which restrict offering free samples. Advertisers must decline orders from such customers.

(f) the advertiser’s full name and address, cost of delivery and estimated delivery time. State also whether you are unable to fulfil the order within 30 days.

Specific sector requirements

You must make sure all your advertisements are true and not misleading. Check that you are not required to comply with more controls, such as any sector rules. These can include financial services which the Financial Conduct Authority enforces.