New ASA Web Marketing Guidelines Need More Clarification

The leading social commerce company Reevoo issued a warning in a Press Release that online retailers who make use of social commerce techniques tend to fall prey to circumvention of rules stated by ASA, and hence become liable to penalty for no fault of theirs. According to Reevoo the new regulations for user-generated content needs further clarification. The rules have been enforced today and they are applied to user-generated content that is used for marketing only. However, it is not clear how this will be assessed by ASA.

Richard Anson, CEO and co-founder of Reevoo, said: “We welcome the guidelines as they make it very clear that online content must be ‘legal, decent, honest, and true’. In that respect they should strengthen consumer confidence in social commerce, which is vital for the continued growth of these emerging channels. Where the guidelines are not insufficiently explicit is in what constitutes marketing. For example it’s arguable that reviews generated by customers to help others make a buying decision ‘marketing’. It’s here that we feel further clarification on the implications for brands using user generated content for a social commerce purpose is needed.”

Reevoo has advised online retailers who want to follow the rules to go by the ‘best practice’ for reviews, as follows:

-not censoring reviews

-making sure that all reviews are by authentic purchasers

-taking actions to prevent fake reviews

-not offering any reward to reviewers

All Reevoo social commerce partners have started following the news ASA guidelines. The reviews are now taken from verified purchasers; there is no faking or planting of reviews. The reviews are uncensored when they are negative (except for abusive language) and no rewards are given out for reviews now. Reevoo has gone to the extent of publishing an eBook on social commerce best practice by the name of “The Six Essentials of Social Commerce”.

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