Inforegister with its sister company Storybook have become highly popular channels of well-aimed marketing – places where a company can present its unique face to the audience searching for you: your enterprise, product or service. You can showcase your company on your own profile as well as available spaces on other company profiles*. But this has ruffled the feathers of those whose profile now has competitor information on it, calling out in alarm: ‘This is misleading advertising!’
The goal of Storybook is to enhance economic transparency and healthy competition with all possible means, so we decided to explore why the reactions are so strong – how is advertising on Inforegister/Storybook different from misleading advertising?
*A profile is combination of a company’s public business information page on Inforegister and media page on Storybook. An available profile is one where the advertising spaces have not been used by the company itself (e.g., the company is not interested in presenting its brand on the profile).
Advertising on Inforegister and Storybook
Based on information by the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority and the Advertising Act, we found that advertising on Inforegister and Storybook is either advertising (on your own profile) or comparative advertising (on a competitor’s profile) that provides unambiguous information to the viewers of the company and its competitors.
The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority highlights in its guidelines for comparative advertising that ‘the use of comparative advertising is in fact positive and the legislator has wished to stimulate the use of such advertising, with the goal of stimulating competition in the interest of the consumer: it follows from the recitals in clauses 2-6 of Directive 97/55 of the European Union that the legislator has wished to stimulate the use of comparative advertising, stressing in clause 2 that comparative advertising can also stimulate competition between suppliers of goods and services to the consumer’s advantage; and in clause 5 that it may be a legitimate means of informing consumers of their advantage.’
Check out competitor’s profile on Storybook: HERE
Misleading advertising, on the other hand, tries to reap the benefit by sailing under false colours and/or making false promises. Inforegister with its sister company, Storybook, guarantees conforming to regulation within the limits of its powers (see more below).
Advertising is information about a company, products, services or ideas with the goal of increasing sales of goods/services, by influencing the consumer to trust this company/brand and buy its goods/services.
Comparative advertising displays a competing company or product/service. ‘The Court of Justice has found that regarding identifying comparative advertising: ‘According to settled case‑law, that is a broad definition covering all forms of comparative advertising, so that, in order for there to be comparative advertising, it is sufficient for there to be a statement referring even by implication to a competitor or to the goods or services which he offers.’ (ibid.)
Misleading advertising is advertising which in any way deceives or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed or whom it reaches and which, by reason of its deceptive nature, is likely to affect their economic behaviour or which, for those reasons, injures or is likely to injure a competitor. To put it in layman’s terms, the content and/or reference to the provider is misleading, the aim being to benefit from pretending to be somebody else or making false promises. Advertising and comparative advertising must not be misleading – providing information that is false or can be misinterpreted.
How do Inforegister and Storybook ensure that advertising on company profiles is not misleading?
Probably both the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority and the legislation presume that the recipient has basic skills for receiving information, including basic reading skills. Based on this, the following basic elements ensure that advertising conforms to regulation on Inforegister:
- Shared responsibility;
- The clearly stated name of the advertising company;
- Unified visuals;
- Banner ‘Check out an alternative here!’
The contracting authority is responsible for the factual content as well as the visuals (logo, colour scheme etc) of the advert sourced from Inforegister – in other words, keeping to your word and principles of legality. Inforegister will be responsible for the clear reference to the contracting company (trade name).
To avoid any chance of misleading, advertising on Inforegister profiles clearly state the advertising company’s trade name and characteristic unified visuals that the company uses in its daily business (in its designs, homepage etc). We expect the contracting authority to ensure that the advertisement is true and the visuals do not imitate anyone in an unacceptable way.
When advertising on a competitor’s profile, the names of both companies (the profile and the advertiser) are visible simultaneously. With such adverts, Inforegister has added the banner ‘Check out an alternative here!’.
On Storybook, the competitor has a separate block, with a clear heading ‘Competitor’s Story’, indicating that the Story refers to a rivalling company. Underneath is a separate block ‘Recommended for co-operation’, with more Stories on similar competitors.
Comparative advertising on Inforegister and Storybook
Based on the above, it cannot be said that advertising competing companies’ and their goods/services on Inforegister/Storybook is misleading; rather that it is comparative advertising in the meaning of the Advertising Act and EU legislation. The substantial visitor numbers guarantee that information reaches large numbers of interested viewers, supporting competition and showing more options to consumers.
Fair and transparent marketing for all!
If You wish to manage Your brand and do not want competitors taking up space on Your profile, check out the personal offer Inforegister has put together for You HERE.