Better Business Bureau To Keep Tabs On Compliance By Websites
Effective Jan 1, 2014, the Council of Better Business Bureaus has beefed up its initiative of checking compliance of websites to certain advertising principles. It has recently gone ahead and implemented the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program with the main objective of encouraging compliance with the principles amongst websites.
These much talked about principles have been supported by the reputed trade organizations in the advertising industry. And their aim is to ensure that user friendly standards are used when it comes to online, interest-based advertising. When the Council was handed over the responsibility of making sure that these principles are met on websites, it propagated the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising that has now gained bite.
To make sure the high standards and principles of this cross-industry program were met, the Council appointed some of the renowned industry names. Together they have put forth a program that is quite comprehensive and can have a huge impact on advertising practices followed by websites. Hence it’s important to know some of the key features of the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program and the effect they can have:
- It has the capability of monitoring the market externally. It can thus gather information that might suggest non compliance with any of the important requirements.
- If there are any instances of non compliance observed in reports from stakeholders or consumers for that matter, then they can be reviewed for a thorough analysis.
- Moreover it can also carry out investigations and enquiries in case there’s a potentially non compliant instance.
- Once it has gathered all the information that’s needed, it can then report the non compliance or non compliance that remains uncorrected, to the Government.
To make things easier for consumers, the program has devised a model called “enhanced notice” that they can benefit from. Consumers can now find an advertising industry icon that will appear on the ad or somewhere around it. There are instances when this icon can also be seen at different locations at webpages. These could be locations where an ad is served or data collection for internet-based advertising takes place.
By looking at the sign, consumers can know that the site is collecting data from them. By clicking on the icon, users will be linked to a site that gives them a fair idea of the data collection practices used in that particular instance. Users will then be allowed a choice to opt out of future Interest-based advertising. Thus users can stay on top of things while they are browsing for information, things they want and importantly they have a “choice”.
But that’s not all; the industry has gone a step further to make things easier for consumers. It has now created an industry wide website that has a list of the biggest interest-based advertising data collectors. Users can then make the most out of a simple link that will take them to an opt-out destination. These practices are meant to be keeping in with the rich and long tradition of the advertising industry, and the belief that people are served better when they are well informed.
Clearly, these recent changes are bound to have a huge impact on websites that will now have to put their best foot forward to ensure compliance. Those who are worried of the risk of non compliance on their sites they can benefit from plugins that are specially created for the purpose. Some of the features of various plugins and their advantages include:
- An opportunity to let your readers know that you are not getting compensation in any form for the post.
- If users are going to buy something from one of your affiliate links then they will be notified that you are going to be compensated for it.
- In case of sponsored posts, there will be a disclaimer for users that clearly states that you were compensated for it.
- In instances where you are writing about a product or a service, it will be specified that you received a sample copy or a review.
- Users will be also be notified if you happen to be using online behavioral tracking technology. That is in keeping in line with the enhanced notice system followed by the Bureau.
- You can use a “custom text” solution to your advantage as well.
- An overriding No Text feature is also offered by plugins in case you don’t want any text to appear on a post.
- You can also keep things crystal clear by having a Default Disclosure on all the posts and pages you might have.
To send out the message loud and clear, the bureau has announced compliance warnings to companies that didn’t keep up with enhanced notice system talked about in the program. While it refused to divulge the details of the companies, it has made people sit up and take notice. So far the warnings haven’t taken a punitive tone but many believe this is just the beginning. And compliance to these practicces might just become a strict norm.
Protect Your Websites Today
Renowned Internet Marketer Bill Guthrie has developed a WP Plugin ‘Privacy Simplified‘ to remove any risk of non-compliance once you installed on your wordpress blogs.
It a very simple WordPress plugin that lets you choose one of 5 attorney-drafted disclosures for all your posts and pages found on your website:
• No Material Connection – Lets your visitors know you’re not receiving ANY type of compensation for writing the post.
• Affiliate Links – Notifies site visitors that you will be compensated if they purchase through one of your affiliate links.
• Review or Sample Copy – Explains that you received a review or sample copy of the product you’re writing about.
• Sponsored Post – Disclaims that you were compensated in some form to write the post.
• Third Party Advertising – Lets your site visitors know that you’re using online behavioral tracking technology. This satisfies the “enhanced notice” the Better Business Bureau requirement.
• No Text – If you don’t want to show any notice on a particular post, you can use this “no text” override feature.
• Custom Text – If you want to write your own “custom text” solution.
• And to simplify things even further, you can choose a Default Disclosure to show on all your Pages and Posts
So DON’T jeopardize your business and make sure you are ready when you get an audit from BBB visiting any of your websites tomorrow. Just use this simple WordPress plugin.
I am Ramya Raju a freelance web design writer with 8 yrs of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social-media platforms. I generally write high-quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, Web design, English courses, and generic topics too. I’m also an extrovert with a passion for photography, anthropology and traveling to different countries to learn the culture and living of the local inhabitants.