The Five Legal Issues with Online Advertising

Placing ads on your website can provide you with the ability to generate good income, but it can also create a number

Placing ads on your website can provide you with the ability to generate good income, but it can also create a number of different headaches if you do not pay attention to what types of advertisements you are showing. We are not talking about ads that are not relevant to your visitors, but about those that could well put you on the wrong side of the law. If you are a publisher, it might be quite easy to just let an ad network show ads on your site without any restrictions, but you better be aware of what they are showing before you use them, as you are ultimately responsible for the contents of your site. If you are an advertiser, it is even more important for you to run an ad campaign that is clear from legal issues. Here are five issues that could arise with online advertising that might put you in hot water:

False Advertising
Companies who are trying to sell products will take time to highlight the benefits of the items they deliver. Every company is well aware that they cannot make claims about their products that simply are not true, but that does not stop them from trying. This tends to be especially true in the weight loss industry, where new pills and diet fads seem to pop up on a daily basis. Many make wild claims that simply cannot be substantiated, and are therefore a risky type of ad to show.

Illegal by Region
Ads for online casinos and sports gambling can be very lucrative indeed, but the fact of the matter is that gambling is not legal in every part of the world. For example, in the United States, sports gambling is actually legal only in the state of Nevada.

Age Restriction
Another type of ad that tends to be generally high paying is that of the porn industry. We are talking about a billion dollar industry here, and one that thrives online, but there are age restrictions that come into play. For example, if you have a site devoted to video games that is likely to be visited by minors, you cannot, under any circumstances, display ads for porn.

We spoke briefly about the issues that you might face with advertisements for diet pills and similar items. One way to show these types of ads and stay away from legal problems is to ensure that they come with a disclaimer that states the products have not been approved by the FDA. Nonetheless, be sure that they are not making any wild claims even with the disclaimers. The same rules apply to tobacco products, which must come with a health warning attached, and which cannot be shown to minors.

Gray Areas
There are some types of ads that are a little trickier to figure out. These types of ads could include promotions for penny stock robots and MLM business models, many of which might fall under the Ponzi scheme umbrella. It is almost impossible to tell which of these are on the up and up, so it is better to avoid them completely, just to be safe.

To summarize, make sure not to show any adult ads to minors, any ads with false claims, and any ads that are deemed illegal in the region being shown. If you find it hard to restrict adult ads from minors and gambling ads in states where it is legal, then find a way to restrict them all together. In this case, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

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