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The Advertising Standards Authority to Receive Complaint About Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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:

23.2 Marketers and publishers should make clear that advertisement
features are advertisements, for example by heading them “advertisement


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.



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

Until now:

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

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.


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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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    February 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm


    Thank You, Homer!

    These are not honest recommendations or offerings. Dell, for example, has a big “Dell recommends Windows 7″ in their US site banner. That drops when you use the site search for “linux” and you find a dozen or so computers that have Ubuntu or Red Hat as an option. Many of those, sadly, bury those fine options under four or five versions of “Genuine Windows” as if gnu/linux were some kind of changeling. FreeDOS is also offered to confuse and scare wold be buyers of free software. It would be more honest for them to say, “Microsoft pays us to recommend Windows and to make it hard for you to find anything else.”

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