Restrictions for advertising on Google are being considered by the Office of Fair Trading, mainly concerning debt management companies. The restrictions would also affect social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. According to a document containing guidance from the OFT, customers may not receive full and appropriate information from sponsored links on search engine pages and social networking sites.
The initial restriction proposals refer to debt management companies, but could also be used against other sectors which would severely restrict commercial activity. The United Kingdom government are currently reviewing the credit sector.
The proposed limits on advertising placed on debt management companies could stretch as far as blogs, forums and other media which would place heavy restrictions on Internet advertising. A spokesman for the Debt Resolution Forum, Andrew Smith considers the existing legislation surrounding advertising to be adequate, with further restraints affecting trade.
As debt management companies are the focus of OFT, it seems that the trading watchdog is merely concerned for the welfare of people who are experiencing escalating debt problems. A number of adverts have minimal information for a customer and numerous promises. The general consensus appears to be in support of the provision of education for people to manage debt responsibly, rather than restricting the adverts.
These proposals could have a significant impact upon companies offering debt management services, making SEO jobs harder. A search engine optimisation strategy is crucial to create a strong presence on the web, especially if advertising is to be restricted. Restrictions could affect businesses and also, Google as its main revenue is from adverts on the search results pages.