The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has held a number of businesses liable for non-compliant advertisements published by their affiliate marketers. The cases serve as a clear reminder to businesses of the risks of incurring liability and negative publicity if they fail to take care when selecting and using affiliate marketers.
The complaints were upheld against a number of gambling businesses, 888 UK Ltd, Casumo Services Ltd, Bonne Terre t/a Sky Vegas, and Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd. The businesses argued that their affiliates had created the adverts which were not commissioned, approved, sanctioned or discussed with them, and cited contractual and practical steps they had in place which aimed to prevent this happening. Nonetheless, the ASA found the business liable.
Under the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code guidance, businesses are primarily responsible for the promotion of their products, and using affiliates will not relinquish this responsibility. Businesses dealing with affiliates should therefore ensure they carry out all appropriate vetting and have effective processes in place to monitor affiliates’ activities and, in particular, their compliance with the CAP Code.