Groupon to be investigated by Office of Fair Trading

Groupon is to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) after the company was found to have breached UK advertising regulations 48 times in less than a year.

The company has been referred to the OFT by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the first business since Ryanair got into hot water back during 2008’s price war with easyJet.

Most recently, the ASA banned a promotion for cosmetic surgery, stating that it “pressured” consumers into making potentially life-changing decisions in just a few hours.

OFT reveals Groupola’s group buying scam, takes “action”

Transparency is so important in modern business. We live in an age where sketchy behaviour is not remotely tolerated, and where bad noise is quickly amplified via social media channels. 

You might remember an article we wrote about Groupola last summer. The group buying site had offered iPhone 4 handsets to gleeful shoppers for the very sexy price of £99 (usually £499). 

The demand was such that the website imploded and frustrated consumers took to the virtual streets of Twitter and Facebook, to complain about not being able to access the sale. 

How to steer clear of the OFT when blogging

Placing posts on high-authority blogs that include links to
your own pages is a sure-fire way to boost your website’s organic optimisation.

Gaining sought-after link juice by negotiating guest
blogging slots on popular websites can be a really powerful weapon in your
search engine optimisation (SEO) tool kit. So powerful in fact, that many corporations and SEO execs are very willing to pay in order to secure the link.

But it’s now looking bleak for anyone who relies on paid-for placement, with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) taking an interest back in December.


The ASA will investigate SEO practices

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has a wide remit. In March 2011 this remit further expands, with backing from Google, to look at claims and sales practises on websites. It’s already possible for the ASA to investigate PPC campaigns.

One in three web users afraid of shopping online

Lack of trust and security concerns are still holding people back from shopping online, though consumer confidence has grown significantly over the last few years.

According to a consumer survey (pdf) carried out by the Office of Fair Trading, nearly one in three are put off from shopping online. For 30%, lack of trust was the biggest reason, followed by concerns over personal security (20%) while 15% said they did not trust companies that sell online.