June 28, 2006

Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaints against Ancestry.co.uk

The Advertising Standards Authority (UK) has upheld complaints against a magazine ad placed by Ancestry.co.uk. The ASA found that

  • the ad's claims about online access to censuses (in a Scottish edition of the magazine) were misleading because Ancestry did not offer access to Scottish censuses (although it has since added a transcript for 1841, as I wrote about two weeks ago);
  • the ad's phrase "everything you'll ever need to research your family tree" was misleading because Ancestry does not provide copies of documents such as parish registers and BMD certificates; and
  • the ad's "free access" claim was not misleading, even though full use requires a subscription, because it referred only to the BMD index, which is indeed free (although it requires users to register).
The Advertising Standards Authority is an independent body set up by the advertising industry, not a government regulator.

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