NOTE: ALL MEMBERS ARE REQUESTED TO REVIEW THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS A MATTER OF URGENCY
Dear WASPA Members,
REGARDING NON-COMPLIANT AFFILIATE MARKETING
During the past year, non-compliant Affiliate Marketing has been the topic of numerous discussions and debates and continues to be a matter that requires the attention of all members that promote their services using third party Affiliate Marketing Suppliers (Affiliate Marketers, Affiliate Marketing Networks and Publishers).
Non-compliant Affiliate Marketing has been identified and highlighted as an extremely problematic area by WASPA, the members, the press, consumers and the Mobile Network Operators.
MOBILE NETWORK OPERATORS
The MNOs have informed WASPA that non-compliant Affiliate Marketing has been identified as a red flag area. The MNOs have received a steep increase in consumer complaints being lodged with their customer support departments, but more importantly, consumers are instituting legal action against the MNOs and related parties regarding misleading, fraudulent and/or non-compliant marketing campaigns and associated subscription services.
The severity of the matter cannot be emphasized enough. The reputation damage suffered by the MNOs and our members, loss in consumer confidence and overall damage to the WASP industry could result in disastrous consequences if not resolved immediately. If WASPA, in collaboration with its members, cannot provide a workable solution to the problem, the MNOs are considering taking action to combat the negative affect of non-compliant Affiliate Marketing, which could include deactivating silent billing for subscription services etc.
NON-COMPLIANT AFFILIATE MARKETING: NON-ADULT SERVICES
Areas of immediate concern is non-compliant Affiliate Marketing that incorporates the intellectual property rights of popular applications like WhatsApp, Instagram and other social media platforms and applications. Another area of concern is non-compliant Affiliate Marketing that offers vouchers or gift cards linked with major retail businesses, for example Spar and Woolworths. Non-compliant campaigns that rely on ‘Win a prize’, ‘Claim your prize’ and/or ‘Prize subscription services’ that are utilized as the marketing hook or lure are also causing extreme damage.
Members are requested to ensure that their Affiliate Marketing Suppliers do not make use of any of these misleading, fraudulent or non-compliant assets to promote services provided by members.
NON-COMPLIANT AFFILIATE MARKETING: ADULT SERVICES
There has been a dramatic increase in non-compliant Affiliate Marketing campaigns associated with adult content services. These campaigns are in breach of the WASPA Code of Conduct, MNOs business rules and the provisions of the Film and Publications Act.
PROBLEMATIC ADULT SITES
WASPA has identified a number of sites where adult content services are regularly being advertised in a non-compliant manner. This is by no means an exhaustive list, however we have highlighted these sites as a point of departure.
WASPA would like to inform its members of these problematic sites in order to give them an opportunity to take the necessary action, as will be set out below.
ACTION REQUIRED BY ALL MEMBERS
1. Review the list provided that contains problematic sites;
2. Undertake internal compliance testing to determine whether any of your services are being advertised on any of the listed sites;
3. Contact your respective Affiliate Marketing Suppliers and determine whether they advertise on these sites;
4. Request your Affiliate Marketing Suppliers to remove all non-compliant advertisements linked to any of your services;
5. Request your Affiliate Marketing Suppliers to refrain from linking your services to any non-compliant advertisements;
6. Assess how many campaigns have been affected by non-compliant Affiliate Marketing activity and implement the necessary procedures to eliminate future non-compliant exposure on the listed sites:
a) Determine whether you will continue using the identified Affiliate Marketing Suppliers or whether you will terminate your agreement;
b) In the event that you continue to make use of their services, ensure that you adequately inform them of the requirements set out in the WASPA Code of Conduct and ensure that they agree to be bound by them;
c) Review your current contractual arrangements with your Affiliate Marketing Suppliers to ensure that they are contractually bound to adhere to specific requirements and provide for any situation where they are in breach of the agreement;
d) Implement internal compliance policies to monitor these (and other) sites to ensure that only compliant marketing assets are being utilised;
7. Monitor these sites to ensure that your services are not linked to non-compliant Affiliate Marketing campaigns.
1. WASPA hereby formally notifies all members about the listed sites where non-compliant Affiliate Marketing advertisements have been identified;
2. Please note: any complaint submitted by a consumer will still follow the procedure as set out in the WASPA Code of Conduct and this notice has no relevance to those matters;
3. Therefore, the members are provided with an opportunity to remove all non-compliant Affiliate Marketing campaigns and/or services during this period;
4. Any breach or non-compliant activity on these sites will be dealt with according to the WASPA Code of Conduct and relevant internal procedures.
Non-compliant Affiliate Marketing has caused severe damage to South African industry. WASPA request all members to participate in this exercise as a starting point to find a workable solution to the immediate problem. The goal is to work with WASPA members to address non-compliant Affiliate Marketing.
The list focuses on sites where Affiliate Marketing is being used to promote adult services. The list is not exhaustive, and WASPA will add sites as they are found and inform members accordingly.
Non-compliant non-adult Affiliate Marketing is being investigated and a similar list will be provided to members in due course for review and to take the necessary action.