The Advertising Standards Authority has announced that its online remit is to be extended. From 1st March 2011, the ASA will cover marketing on companies own websites and on non-paid-for sites like Twitter and Facebook. Currently, it only covers paid-for advertisements such as banner ads, paid-for search listings, commercial classified ads and paid-for listings on price comparison sites. The ASA says it has received around 3,500 complaints since 2008 relating to the content of organisations’ own websites, which it was unable to investigate due to them falling outside its remit.
New sanctions against online merchants who contravene the Code of Advertising Practice have been introduced. The ASA can require the removal of paid-for search ads, and may take out its own ads alerting consumers to non-compliant organisations.