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U.K. Advertisers Pull Ads on IMDB

Incident raises questions over control of ad placement.
U.K. Advertisers Pull Ads on IMDB
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Aug 23, 2007 7:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
LONDON — Two advertisers have pulled online ads off of Amazon’s Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) after finding the banners placed next to listings for adult movie titles. The companies that pulled the ads, National Lottery and BarclayCard are both based in the U.K.

“As company policy, we seek to advertise only on reputable websites and temporarily removed our adverts from this site while we carried out a full investigation and spoke to the website,” a Barclays Group spokesperson said.

Barclays Group is the issuer of BarclayCard and several other consumer credit cards, and is one of the largest consumer lending companies in Europe. The company said also that it is investigating the situation and considering reinstatement of the ads.

"The Internet Movie Database seeks to list all the movies which have ever been made, including adult ones, but by no stretch of the imagination could it be described as a porn site,” the Barclays spokesperson said.

So far, other advertisers on IMDB including Hewlitt Packard, Motorola, Hilton Hotels and Citro?n have not pulled any of their ads.

Recently, social networking website Facebook had several advertisers, including Vodafone, pull advertising off the site after the ads were placed next to member profiles that did not meet company standards for appropriate content.

The incidents raise questions about future online advertising campaigns on sites in which the marketers have very little control over ad placement or advertising on sites that are comprised mostly of user-generated content.

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers’ marketing manager Alex Ricks said that advertisers should be cautious about making sure to take as many precautions as possible in placing their ads in order to avoid association with inappropriate content and that controls should be in place if ads needed to be removed quickly.

“They do need to be wary of brand damage through association with content that they may consider questionable,” Ricks said.

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