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Online ads get another watchdog

Admark scheme hoped to build trust in online ads

The body responsible for enforcing the UK's advertising codes is to launch a website it hopes will increase customer trust in online advertising.

The CAP's (Committee of Advertising Practice) scheme, Admark, is due to be launched on 17 May by 'e-minister' Patricia Hewitt. "The scheme should reassure consumers that their advertising isn't misleading," said Hewitt.

Admark will be an opt-in service so that advertisers who fall outside of the grasp of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), which governs 'paid for' adverts, can volunteer to follow the codes of advertising practice.

"The ASA laid down clear guidelines earlier this year as to which aspects it would cover," said a press officer at the ASA. "These include only paid-for adverts, by which we mean all banner ads and online sales promotions. But ads by companies on host websites, for example, fall outside our remit."

Consumers can click through to the Admark site on relevant ads to check the standards of companies that have agreed to meet the codes of practice.

"The Admark scheme demonstrates the [advertising] industry's commitment to raising confidence in online advertising through self-regulation," said Andrew Bowman, CAP chairman.

However the £250 per brand name or website joining fee, and membership top-ups of £100 per year, may put some businesses off joining.

Consumers will still report all 'paid for' complaints to the ASA but can also contact the CAP with complaints about Admark members on 020 7828 4224.

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