Official complaints about internet ads rose by a third in 2006, according to new figures from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The agency reported 2,066 complaints - up from 1,577 and even more than direct mail attracted - according to the ASA's annual report.

"The internet is now the second most complained about non-broadcast advertising format - a rise unmatched by any other media," said ASA chairman Lord Borrie QC.

"Yet the boundaries of regulatory responsibility online are still unclear. The industry needs to address this issue quickly so that consumer faith in online messages can be as high as it is for advertising that appears in traditional formats."

Most complainants grumbled that the online ads were misleading.

Ads for gambling site - which used the slogan "Why wait 'til 18? Bet at 16" - were pulled after a furore in which culture secretary Tessa Jowell called the campaign "utterly reprehensible" for encouraging young people to gamble, the report stated.

Complaints against email campaigns dropped by 10% to 276, however, and complaints against SMS adverts halved to 41.

You might be interested in

Comments (7)

Save or Cancel

Marianne Nicholson

I am really angry about the amount of pop up advertising to incite me to gamble while on line. It flashes about and would be really easy to click by mistake or be sucked into playing or gambling. I think it is wrong to advertise this way and find it an infringement on my personal space. I would like to see these banned.

over 10 years ago



I recently received my phone bill to discover a text messaging service were sending me info texts 3 times aday at a cost of £1.50. I have so far been charged £45.00 for something I did not subscribe to. The company Blinck United Ltd of Dublin have informed me it was done via the internet.

I would not subscribe to this expensive service for any reason. I have expalined someone has given them my details and THEY DONT WANT TO KNOW. THEY HAVE PERHAPS GOT GOING ONE OF THE BIGEST INTERNET SCAMS EVER.


over 10 years ago


chris leeming

My 10 year old grandson recieved an offensive email from
Adultfriend The World's Largest Sex & Swinger Personals Community.
It said that he had not finished registering, an obvios lie as I have parental controls full on and it is impossible to bring up a sex site, so the email was spam. Would appreciate some info on how and who to complain to.

over 10 years ago


paul phillips

Blinck United Ltd charged £84 to my Orange bill for ringtones I never received. I am trying to find some way to sue them through the small claims kcourt. Orange just don't want to now.

over 10 years ago


Maralyn Butler

Blinck United Ltd charged £77 in total for ringtones I didn't receive or want. My service provider Virgin, who you would think could do something to block these texts said there was nothing they could do and that I would have to complain dirct to the company.
I did complain and asked for a full refund only to be told that I had asked for the texts!
I had stopped the 3 texts a week (£1.50 per text) by texting 'STOP' to a given number but had reactivated it apparently, by sending the word 'SILENT' after recieving the next text believing I was 'stopping' the texts!
All very confusing - which is exactly what they set out to do - BE WARNED!
There should be something a governing body can do to put a stop to these SCAMS.
In the mean time I have had to pay the bills because there's nothing I can do about it! ****

over 10 years ago


Ed Kennan

I'm really sorry to hear that other people have been ripped off by this Blinck website - I copped about £18 worth of "service messages" that I never asked for (supposedly ringtones) and only texted "stop" because I was going on holiday.

Upon opening my most recent phone bill yesterday, I was horrified that Orange are acting as debt collector to this sleazy, dirtbag company. No one in their right mind would sign up to receive £60 worth of ringtones per month, and I still cannot believe that they can get money from you simply by having your mobile number.
Orange try to pass the blame back to Blinck, but if it weren't for Orange acting as an intermediary then this company would not be able to rip people off with it's ficticious advertising.

I'd love to be able to get this message out to other people on a more well-known website or paper, if anyone knows a way then please let me know.


about 10 years ago


Mathew Muma

YAHOO web based adverts on "Education" are racially motivated and are meant to demean the African race.

It is very offending to find people with images of African origins being shown to fit low social esteem and dirty professions such as nursing while people of "White" or  Asian racial origins are in more professional fields. Stop creating in the minds of your children hatred for the African race and biases in denying Africans educational and job opportunities based on such prejudices in real life practice!   

about 8 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.