ASA to regulate brand websites

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is to regulate marketing on brand websites after the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (Asbof) struck a deal to finance the additional workload.


The deal would add marketing communications to the banner, display and paid for search ads the watchdog currently regulates. The funding includes seed capital from Google, the largest player in search.

Full details of the proposals will be published once ratified by the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (Asbof), the Advertising Standards Authority Council, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and by the Advertising Association, whose Digital Media Group undertook the original work on the remit extension.

It is expected that the new regulation will come into operation during the second half of next year.

Asbof currently administers the collection of a 0.1% levy to fund the CAP code which is paid by advertisers and collected by media agencies. This will now include search, which up until now has not formally contributed to this scheme.

Winston Fletcher, chairman of Asbof, said: “This stands to be an incredibly important development in effective self-regulation by the advertising industry. It promises to strengthen significantly the reach and work of the ASA – which will be good for our industry and vital for consumers. The active role that Google has played has been essential.”   

Matt Brittin, Google’s UK managing director, said: “If people have a complaint about a claim made on a website it’s important that it is properly investigated. We support the ASA’s aims of providing consumer protection and are happy to help get this up and running for the benefit of UK consumers and businesses.”

Lord Smith of Finsbury, chairman of the ASA, said: “We very much welcome the progress that has been made.  I believe it’s crucial that the ASA can deal with the already significant number of complaints about marketing on websites, which is not, currently, subject to the CAP code. This landmark agreement, once agreed, will considerably enhance online consumer protection.”

This story first appeared on

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