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The Advertising Standards Authority to Receive Complaint About Microsoft



Slated.org



Summary: The author of Slated.org (screenshot above) will report Microsoft's lies and other abuses to the ASA

"Homer" (or "Slated" as some people know him) links to our leaked information which shows that Microsoft pays companies to claim to recommend Windows (advertisement disguised as endorsement). In E-mail correspondence he showed us this new report, which we recently covered in a batch of daily links. "Stricter rules for internet adverts" it claims:



Companies who advertise on the internet will face stricter rules and regulations from next month.

Until now, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has only been able to monitor traditional advertising found on billboards, in newspapers or on television.

But from March 1, its powers will extend to regulating commercial websites and businesses who promote their products using social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.


Slated has explained that he is determined to pursue this in the UK. Quoting his message in full:

Some time ago I discussed the UK's tough line on deceptive advertising, noting that adverts on radio, television and print needed to be clearly labelled as such in the UK, and are not allowed to be disguised to look like impartial recommendations. If it's paid commercial advertising, it must say so. Period. That's the Advertising Standards Authority's rule, and indeed the law in the UK - The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988, and the CAP Code:

[quote] 23.2 Marketers and publishers should make clear that advertisement features are advertisements, for example by heading them "advertisement feature". [/quote]

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/codes/cap_code/ShowCode.htm?clause_id=1564

UK readers are very familiar with this, as they'll have noticed various pages in newspapers clearly labelled "ADVERTISEMENT" for years now, but some of our transatlantic friends here in COLA seemed rather shocked by the revelation, since apparently US regulations for deceptive promotion are somewhat lacking (Section 5 of the FTC Act doesn't require explicit designation of advertising).

My interest was, and still is, in exposing this scam where PC retailers "Recommend Windows". In fact, those seemingly impartial recommendations are nothing but commercial advertisements paid for by Microsoft, and as such need to be labelled clearly as adverts, so visitors to those sites understand explicitly that this is not an impartial "recommendation" at all. At which point, of course, the deceitful purpose of these ads will be completely exposed, and they'll most probably be withdrawn, bringing competing systems like GNU/Linux one small step closer towards parity.

That is my hope.

http://techrights.org/2008/12/01/leaked-oem-vista-ad-incentives/ https://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.linux.advocacy/browse_thread/...

But there was just one small problem. The ASA's authority didn't extend to Web sites...

Until now:

[quote] Stricter rules for internet adverts

Companies who advertise on the internet will face stricter rules and regulations from next month.

Until now, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has only been able to monitor traditional advertising found on billboards, in newspapers or on television.

But from March 1, its powers will extend to regulating commercial websites and businesses who promote their products using social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Under the change, internet users will be able to make official objections about any indecent or misleading information they find online.

The ASA has spent a year preparing for the reform, and is expanding staff numbers by 10% to deal with the extra complaints it expects.

"The principle that ads have to be legal, decent, honest and truthful is now going to extend to companies claims on their own websites," Matt Wilson, of the ASA told the BBC.

Both adverts and claims on a company's website which could be interpreted as marketing will be policed by the authority.

Last year, 2,500 people complained about website content, but under the old rules their objections were not admissible. [/quote]

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jAy_kI2v5QU_R4...

I'm drafting my formal complaint right now. In fact, I'm thinking about organising a petition at "petitiononline" to lend further weight to it.

I'll let you know when it's up and running.


There is also Microsoft's Twitter AstroTurf, which we covered here a lot of times. It carries on and there are bot accounts of Microsoft roaming that site, pinging and adding as 'friends' (or 'following') opponents of Microsoft.

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