Watchdog to monitor online travel ads

Hotel News - 06/09/2010

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From 2011, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) will regulate online travel advertising. This will cover all travel companies publishing their products online. From 1 March, the UK’s advertising watchdog’s powers will be expanded to cover all online advertising and marketing. This includes any such activities on social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. At the moment, the ASA’s authority only covers traditional advertising media like television and print.

The ASA said it has received 4,500 complaints regarding online advertisements in the last two years but has not been able to do anything about them. The authority said the most frequent complaints were about misleading pricing, like advertisements for air tickets that do not include extra charges or taxes. The ASA has the power to investigate any complaints and revoke publicity. It can also name and shame companies that refuse to comply with ASA rulings. The ASA can also demand search engines pull the paid links for problem ads. The ASA can even take the extreme step of publishing its own advertisements highlighting problems with companies that refuse to comply with ASA rulings.

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