ODLQC Standards require that:
III.A All advertising and promotional material gives a clear, accurate and balanced view of the provider, its personnel, its provision, the objectives and outcomes of that provision and the ease with which these can be obtained. All information included is real, current, and verifiable.
In interpreting these standards in this context, Council has taken several factors into account:
Firstly, Council’s primary role is to protect the interests of learners. Whether or not a particular type of advertising is misleading is a judgement which depends both on the content of the advertising itself, and on the level of familiarity of the potential respondent with Google layouts and advertising.
Secondly, it is unsafe to assume that search engine users can readily distinguish between paid and unpaid material on search engine results pages.
Thirdly, while Google allows bidding on competitors' trademark names, the legal position on such practices remains unclear.
Nevertheless, Council feels that any search for a provider by name which generates a results page on which the competitors of that provider figure prominently has the potential to mislead. Accordingly, Council have now agreed that all advertisements linked to searches for competitors names (registered company names, or variants which are so close as to be, in the judgement of Council, an attempt to circumvent the rule) should be avoided.
ODLQC cannot continuously monitor all aspects of all provisions to determine compliance. Providers must take full responsibility to ensure that their advertising complies with ODLQC standards. Failure to do so may result in the withdrawal of accreditation.
Any provider whose name being used in this way, whether by an accredited or a non-accredited provider, should ask the offending provider to stop, and alert us to the fact as quickly as possible.
© ODLQC 1st March 2018