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BizReport : Law & Regulation : September 25, 2008

ASA: Publishers responsible for displaying insensitive ads

Regardless of how an ad is chosen to appear on a website, the publisher must take complete responsibility for that ad’s suitability, according to recent comments from the Advertising Standards Association in the U.K.

by Helen Leggatt

ASA%20logo.jpgAds chosen by an automated system like AdSense or Yahoo’s Publisher Network are required to be checked for suitability. Even though those ad systems are set up to match keywords to content, they can sometimes select ads that can be offensive and have little or no relevance to the webpage content.

A recent case in point is reported by and involves The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. An article about the resignation of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had an ad associated with it that advertised "Pakistan Girls in Photos at Great Prices" which was deemed inappropriate and a complaint was received.

"If ads are generated automatically there should be checks in place, people need to be responsible for the ads they show and they need to meet the requirements of the Code," an ASA spokesman said.

Google AdSense claims that it carries out work to minimize insensitive matches.

Publishers can also manage the ads that are displayed using the Ad Review Center which allows the filtering of ads by text or image and allows the blocking of individual ad groups and advertisers.

Tags: AdSense, online advertising

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