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  Lower Standards Permit Virtual-World Advertising to Kids  
Posted 2007-08-10 by Tony Walsh
Last month I wondered how virtual-world advertising aimed at kids too young to chat responsibly could be justified. The answer is simple: lower advertising standards so that the behavior becomes "acceptable." NewMediaAge reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (UK) will allow snack food brands to target kids, provided the brands operate "within their own paid-for space." Ads in the virtual equivalent of "public space" would reportedly still fall within ASA regulations. I don't think much of the relaxed standards, as I don't believe that young children can distinguish between branded and non-branded content.

I am not familiar with the Advertising Standards Authority and to whom the organization might answer to, but I find the lowering of standards here analogous to the move to broaden the definition of "organic" food or change the definition of chocolate in order to satisfy industry greed.

[Update: Apparently the ASA answers to the advertising industry. See how self-regulation works? Also, Raph posted some good, brief commentary about this earlier, pointing out that distinguishing between public and private space in virtual worlds is pretty pointless.]
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