Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Every Person Is A Media Company: UK Advertising Watchdog To Regulate People's Personal Blogs And Facebook Pages

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 8, 2010

This is astounding: ClickZ in the UK reports:

U.K. to Regulate Social Network Marketing - ClickZ

Marketers and brands using social networks will soon find their activities in those spaces regulated by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority, following recommendations submitted by the Advertising Association this week.

The proposed amendment to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code - expected to be in force by September - will extend the regulatory framework currently in place for paid online ads to all other online marketing communications. As a result, claims from marketers on their own Web sites and third-party sites like social networks will now be subject to ASA scrutiny, as they are in TV, print, and other forms of online advertising.

The code is designed to ensure that ads do not offend or mislead, and that they respect specific laws relating to the marketing of alcohol, gambling, auto, health, and financial products.

Advertising Association COO Rae Burdon described the extension as "very significant" for online marketers. "There is now considerable marketing activity on social networks, so it's clear that these spaces have to be included in the remit," he told ClickZ.

Wow. If a person markets something, like a book they've written, or a product they are selling, it is regulated as if it were advertising published by a media company, such as a newspaper, TV, magazine, etc.

That means everyone is now a media company. And subject to the same regulations - at least in the UK. Wow.

Those regulations will apply to personal blog sites and also your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn pages too. If you claim something that isn't truthful or violates other regulations -- there will be penalties.

Sanctions for breaching the code have not yet been confirmed, but the revised codes are expected to be published this month and will come into effect in the autumn, the Advertising Association said.

But how will the ASA monitor all that social media marketing?

The extension of the ASA remit will of course incur additional costs, and Burdon said the ASA would be "gearing up with additional staff and structures" in the coming months.

The ASA will need a lot of staff, I'm not sure if it knows what it's chewing off. We have just scratched the surface of individuals using social media marketing.

That's what the Obama administration should bring to the US, similar regulations. It would make a great job stimulus initiative. There would be jobs for life, for thousands of people, working as social media marketing monitors ((SMMMs) - pronounced Sock-mee-ma-mo's :)).


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