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Advertising Acceptability Guidelines
The mission of Catholic Online dictates that we must be discriminating in the kind and type of advertising that we accept.
Catholic Online makes every effort to protect its readers and advertisers by barring commercial messages; that fail to comply with its standards of decency and dignity, that are misleading, inaccurate or fraudulent and that make unfair competitive claims. Catholic Online will frequently conduct an investigation to obtain information about statements in an advertisement and establish their accuracy.
If an advertisement contains statements or illustrations that are not acceptable, and that Catholic Online thinks should be changed or eliminated, the advertiser is notified. If an advertiser refuses to negotiate changes, the advertisement is declined.
We investigate all complaints from readers about advertising on our site. If investigation proves the complaints to be valid and shows that the business practices of an advertiser are unfair, Catholic Online will decline further advertising from that advertiser.
Advertising must sometimes be changed or declined because of the applicability of laws dealing with such matters as libel, copyright and trademark, the right of privacy, the sale of securities, the sale of real estate and political advertising.
Generally speaking, any other advertising that may cause financial loss or loss of the readers' confidence in reputable advertising and ethical business practices is unacceptable.
The following list describes some of the kinds of advertising that Catholic Online will not accept: (This list is for illustrative purposes and does not include all types of advertising that we may find objectionable. Each advertisement must be judged on its own merits; we do not evaluate advertisements comparatively ).
Advertisements that contain fraudulent, deceptive or misleading statements or illustrations. Attacks of a personal nature. Advertisements that are overly competitive or that refer abusively to the goods or services of others.
Advertisements that do not comply with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.
Advertisements for fortune telling, dream interpretations and individual.
Advertisements for cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Advertisements offering furs or products made from the furs or hides of animals included on government endangered species lists.
Advertisements that fail to comply with the express requirements of federal and state laws.
Offensive to Good Taste
Indecent, vulgar, suggestive or other advertising that, in the opinion of The Catholic Online, may be offensive to good taste. This includes pornography.
Advertisements promoting wagering sites.
Advertisements that on their face lead to self-diagnosis or self treatment of serious medical conditions.
The following describes some of our advertising acceptability policies in more detail by category:
Advertisements submitted by individuals who seek to adopt children or who offer children for adoption are unacceptable. Advertisements submitted by state licensed adoption agencies are acceptable.
Advertisements that include photographs or illustrations of the American Flag (or other recognized national symbols such as the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Memorial, etc.) are acceptable provided the flag or symbol is not treated in a disrespectful manner.
Our policy with regard to the advertising of books is to limit our judgments to that which appears in the advertisements themselves rather than to the subject of the books advertised. This does not preclude us from declining a book advertisement because we find a book title or book jacket to be offensive. It does mean, however that we will not refuse to accept a book advertisement because the book is controversial or because it espouses views that are unpopular or contrary to widely held beliefs or theories.
Advertisements that describe a book as being a "number one bestseller" must contain a citation to the bestseller list (published in Catholic Online or some other newspaper or magazine) upon which the book appeared in that position. If not recent, the date of the published bestseller list must also appear in the advertisement. Advertisements that describe as author as being " a number on bestselling author" are acceptable provided we are assured that the author has had one of his books appear on a bestseller list at some time in the past.
Advertisements urging the boycott of a product or service are acceptable in opinion, political or labor union advertisements but must be reviewed by the Advertising Acceptability Department.
Advertisements for cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and snuff are NOT acceptable.
Should an advertiser decide to challenge a competitor's claims, that advertiser should submit reasons, in writing, to Catholic Online.
The challenger will be informed that his or her letter will be forwarded to the challenged party.
If the challenged party fails to reply to the challenge or fails to document the claims then those claims will no longer be acceptable in advertising submitted to Catholic Online.
If we are unable to arrive at a fair resolution to a competitive challenge, the challenger will be encouraged to refer the matter to a third party fact-finding agency such as Better Business Bureau.
We try to assist readers who experience difficulties as a result of responding to advertisements on Catholic Online. Written complaints are referred to the advertisers involved when appropriate.
"Consumer Reports," published by the Consumers Union, evaluates various products and services and publishes recommendations as to the relative merits of competing brands. "Consumer Reports" objects to their recommendations being cited or reproduced in commercial advertising.
Advertisements for contraceptives are NOT acceptable.
Counterfeit or Replica Merchandise
Advertisements offering the sale of counterfeits or replicas, which generally are well-known, nationally advertised merchandise, e.g., Rolex watches, Gucci handbags, Chanel #5 perfume, etc., are NOT acceptable.
Criticism of the Catholic Online
Advertisements that are critical of Catholic Online, e.g., those that rebut Catholic Online editorials, news, reports, critical reviews, etc., are acceptable provided they address relevant issues and quotes Catholic Online fairly.
Advertisements containing messages written in esoteric or private codes that cannot be readily understood by our readers are NOT acceptable.
Advertisements that contain photographs of United States coins are acceptable. Advertisements that contain photographs of United States paper money must comply with U. S. Treasury regulations. They currently provide that the bills must be reproduced in black and white only and be either smaller than three fourths the size of the original or larger than one and one-half times the size of the original. "Size? means linear dimensions.
Advertisements for dating services are acceptable except in those containing telephone toll line numbers (the national 900 lines and local 540, 970 and 976 exchanges).
Diet Pills & Regimens
Advertisements offering "miracle" diet pills or regimens; e.g., those for which incredible and unsubstantiated weight loss claims are made, are NOT acceptable.
Advertisements that express or imply discrimination on grounds of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status or disability are NOT acceptable.
The phrase "Going Out of Business" will be restricted to those instances where an advertiser will be closing his entire operation. When an advertiser intends to close as outlet, branch, etc., but will otherwise remain in operation then the phrase "Going Out of Business" may not be used in advertisements submitted to us. In these cases, phrases such as "Closing Our Dallas Store," "Moving Out of Los Angeles," etc. will be acceptable.
When "Going Out of Business" claims are made in an advertisement we require that advertisements also include, unless specifically prohibited by the issuing authority as in the case with New York City , the following information:
- The number of any "Going out of Business" license issued to the advertiser.
- The name of the municipality or other authority that issue the license.
- The expiration date of the license or any extension of the original license.
Advertisements for "Going Out of Business" sales are acceptable until the expiration date of any license issued or extended. In case where the advertiser is not required to obtain a "Going Out of Business" license, advertisements announcing these sale will be acceptable for no more than sixty days from the date the "Going Out of Business" claim first appeared in an advertisement on Catholic.org.
After the expiration of a "Going Out of Business" sale, all subsequent advertisements submitted by that advertiser will then be unacceptable. As far as Catholic Online is concerned, that advertiser will then be considered to be out of business.
The use of variations of the phrase "Going Out of Business," such as "Going Out for Your Business, " "To Prevent Going Out of Business," etc., are NOT acceptable for Catholic Online.
Advertisements that state or imply time limits on bankruptcy, foreclosures or forced liquidation sales, such as "This Weekend Only," "Last 3 Days," etc., may be used only once. Any repetition of such claims beyond the last day of the original claim, as run on Catholic.org, are NOT acceptable.
Advertising offering bankruptcy, foreclosures or forced liquidation sales may not appear in Catholic Online more than sixty days from the date the sale was first advertised on Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) or any of its properties.
Variations of the term "bankruptcy," "foreclosure," or "forced liquidation" such as to "prevent Bankruptcy/Foreclosure/Forced Liquidation" or any similar language, when used in a manner that may lead our readers, are NOT acceptable.
In cases where an advertiser has obtained the inventory of a company that has since gone out of business, been the subject of foreclosure or forced liquidation, that advertiser may refer accurately to these conditions but may not use headlines, sub-headlines or body copy that, by emphasizing these terms, create the impression that the advertiser himself is going out of business, in a foreclosure or forced liquidation or is otherwise in a distress situation.
Distress sales of any kind may not be used by those who sell oriental rugs.
Advertisements offering furs or products mad from the furs or hides of animals included on government endangered species lists are NOT acceptable.
Error in Advertising
Errors occur in advertising. A garment meant to sell for $200 may, due to a typographical error, appear in the newspaper offered for $20. On occasion, we will receive calls from readers who are under the impression that, in these cases, the advertiser or Catholic Online is bound to provide them with the garment at the erroneous price. This is not true. Mistakes of fact can be corrected and are not enforceable. All we can do in these cases is to acknowledge the error and apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Advertisements for sanitary pads, tampons, douches, etc., are acceptable provided both the copy and illustration are presented in a tasteful manner.
Advertisements for firearms and ammunition to be sold by mail-order are NOT acceptable.
Full advertisements written in a foreign language are accepted and run without accompanying translation only when targeted to countries where that is the predominant language. However, a full translation of that advertisement must be provided to Catholic Online. In cases where the ad targets countries where the foreign language used is not the predominant language (e.g. Spanish in the United States ) the ad displayed must be accompanied by a full translation.
Advertisements containing foreign words or expressions that are now commonly understood, e.g. , gesundheit, mangia, schlepp, etc. are acceptable without an English translation.
See Endangered Species, above.
Herbal and/or Dietary Supplements
Advertisements for herbal and/or other dietary supplements that claim to prevent, treat or cure serious medical conditions are NOT acceptable. See also Medical Preparations below.
Advertisements offering services of a hypnotist to treat medical or psychiatric conditions, e.g., depression, anxiety, etc, are NOT acceptable.
Advertisers may target specific keywords/tickers throughout Catholic Online or its properties according to the following conditions:
- An advertiser cannot target a keyword/ticker that is their own company name/ticker, parent company name/ticker, direct competitor company name/ticker, commonly used names representing the company/competitor (eg. Coke for Coca-Cola, HP for Hewlett-Packard) or their product names (i.e. film titles, software titles, etc.) on article pages that contain editorial content (news reports, news analysis, feature articles, reviews, opinion, Op-Ed, slideshows, etc.) from Catholic Online or any partner (ie. AP, Reuters, CNET, FT, etc.) This supercedes any other keyword targeting so ads targeted to any other keywords/tickers on articles where the advertiser/competitor appears will not be served.
- Advertisers can target a keyword/ticker, including that of their own company and competitor, on section fronts, search results pages, company research pages (Market watch data), or any other page that contains factual data.
Advertisements seeking to recruit workers for employment in an establishment where a strike, lockout or other labor dispute exists are acceptable provided the copy clearly discloses these conditions.
Advertisements for liquor are NOT acceptable.
Advertisements for state sponsored lotteries, privately sponsored lotteries, including those designed to transfer ownership in real estate or other property, are illegal and NOT acceptable.
Mail order advertising is accepted subject to compliance with Federal Trade Commission and postal regulations that now include the following conditions:
- Only merchandise of which delivery within thirty days is assured may be advertiser
- If delivery is not made within thirty days, customers must be offered an opportunity to cancel their orders with full refund.
- Full and prompt refunds will be issued to customers who mail back unused merchandise within ten days from the date of receipt. Personalized merchandise is not covered by this rule.
- Substitution of items without the customer's prior consent is not allowed.
Catholic Online usually does not police performance of these conditions but relies on the advertiser's compliance.
Advertisements directed to or seeking information about, missing persons are acceptable.
Advertisements directed to, or seeking information about, a missing person that contains a photograph are acceptable provided the advertisement is place by a relative of the person sought and that relationship is disclosed in the advertisement.
Advertisements for movies, including those rated NC-17 by the Motion Picture Association of America, are acceptable provided both copy and illustration are in acceptable taste.
Movie (or theater, restaurant or similar) advertisements that quote a Catholic Online reviews must be accurate and in context. The advertisement must characterize the quote appropriately. Characterizations such as exclaims, raves, hails, etc. are NOT acceptable when quoting Catholic Online. Such characterizations are acceptable when quoting other publications.
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Advertisements for fortune telling, dream interpretations and individual horoscopes are NOT acceptable.
Offensive to Good Taste
Advertisements that are, in the opinion of Catholic Online, indecent, vulgar, suggestive or otherwise offensive to good taste are NOT acceptable. Taste is judgment in which time, place and context make vital differences. Each advertisement must, therefore, be judged on its own merits.
In an effort to keep its advertising columns open to acceptable points of view, Catholic Online accepts advertisements in which groups or individuals comment on public or controversial issues.
We do not accept opinion advertisements that are attacks of a personal nature, that seek to comment on private disputes or that contain vulgar or indecent language.
We do not accept advertisements that are gratuitously offensive on racial, religious or ethnic grounds or that are considered to be in poor taste.
The volume of advertising is such that Catholic Online cannot verify, nor do we vouch for, statements of purported fact in opinion advertisements. We reserve the right, to require documentation of factual claims when it is deemed necessary.
Advertisements that include photographs of individuals or the names of individuals as signatories, or which state or imply that named individuals support or endorse the messages, must be accompanied by signed releases wherein the sponsors certify that no one's name or photograph has been used in the advertisements without his or her consent. If affiliations of signatories are included in an opinion advertisement then a line copy which reads "Affiliations listed for identification purposes only." must also appear in the advertisement.
The sponsor's name and the sponsor's mailing address or telephone number must appear in the advertisement. Web site addresses may be included in opinion advertisements but the web site listed must also contain the sponsor's mailing address or telephone number. Any click-thru included with an ad must take users to the Web site of the advertiser who purchased the ad space unless the advertiser has provided written permission from another site to link to them with their advertising. When a non-product ad is run, (opinion or advertorial), the click-thru site must include contact information for the sponsor. See also, Political, in this manual.
See Distress Sales, above.
Political advertisements that do not identify the paid sponsor in every frame of the ad will not be NOT accepted.
Political advertisements are those that advocate the election or defeat of candidates for public office. Opinion advertisements, on the other hand, are those that comment or express a point of view about public or controversial issues but do not advocate the election or defeat of candidates for public office. Our stance with regard to the acceptance of political advertisements is the same as it is for the acceptance of opinion advertisements (see Opinion, above) with the following additional requirements:
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Political advertisements that expressly advocate the election or defeat of clearly identified candidates for federal office must include one of the following notices:
- When an advertisement is authorized and paid for by the candidate's authorized committee: "Paid for by the John Doe for President Committee"
- When an advertisement is authorized but not paid for by the candidates authorized committee: "Paid for by the XYZ Committee and authorized by the John Doe for President Committee."
- When an advertisement is not authorized and not paid for by the candidate's authorized committee: "Paid for by XYZ Committee and not authorized by any candidate."
Political advertisements that solicit funds must, where applicable, disclose that contributions are not deductible for income tax purpose.
National advertisements promoting the availability of prescription drugs may not be acceptable.
President's Likeness in Advertising
Advertisement that use the name or photograph of the President of the United States, the First Lady, members of the First Family or the White House in a commercial context are unacceptable unless the advertiser has obtained permission from the President or the President's counsel. This requirement does not apply to political or opinion advertisements.
All inquires from newspapers, radio and television stations, etc. about advertising that has appeared on Catholic Online, or been rejected, must be referred to Catholic Online customer service.
Advertisements for dentists, lawyers, physicians and other professionals are acceptable. Such advertisements may not be false, fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, sensational or flamboyant. They may not contain testimonials, guarantees of results, claims of superiority over other professionals or offers of gratuitous service or discounts.
Pyramid Sales Operations
Advertisements for pyramid sales operations or multi-level marketing schemes are NOT acceptable.
Advertisements for radar detectors or other devices that are designed to enable motorists to evade or circumvent highway safety and anti-speed laws are NOT acceptable.
Catholic Online does accept Restaurant advertisements.
Advertisements that contain statements or representations that unfairly disparage the goods, prices, service, business methods or advertising of a competitor are NOT acceptable.
Advertisements that make or imply unsupported claims that an advertiser will undersell competitors are NOT acceptable.
Right of Privacy
Under certain State laws , it is illegal to use any person's name, portrait or picture in an advertisement without having received that person's signed written consent. Catholic Online may require evidence of such consent.
Most advertisers employ the services of professional models who sign legal releases authorizing advertisers to use the model's photographs for advertising purposes. Catholic Online will assume that their release has been obtained. Occasionally, however, an advertiser may unwittingly submit an advertisement containing a photograph of someone other than a professional model and may have neglected to obtain a legal release. When we are aware of a situation such as this the advertisement will be withheld until the matter is resolved.
All opinion or political advertisements that include the names of individuals as signatories, or which state or imply that named individuals support or endorse the message, must be accompanied by signed releases wherein the sponsors certify that no one's name has been used without his or her consent.
Advertisements that promote the sale of goods or service by unfairly or unjustifiably appealing to fear are NOT acceptable.
Sex Instruction Books/Videos
Advertisements offering sex manuals, marriage manuals, "how to" sex books, videos, etc., are NOT acceptable.
Simulation of News or Editorial Matter
Advertisements that, in our opinion, simulate Catholic Online and its properties web pages and/or Catholic Online news or editorial matter or that may be confused with our web pages and/or news or editorial matter are NOT acceptable. The use of column widths, type faces, colors, page layouts, sub-heads, photographs, captions or other elements usually associated with Catholic Online news or editorial matter in a manner that may mislead the reader is not permitted. Catholic Online reserves the right to designate any advertisement as such (by labeling with the word "Advertisement") when, in our opinion, this is necessary to make clear the separation between news/editorial material and advertising. Keep in mind, however, that the use of the label by itself, is not sufficient if the overall appearance of the advertisement tends to confuse the reader. The rule of thumb is this: if it confuses, it's NOT acceptable.
Advertisers who are not registered securities dealers may wish to submit ads offering the sale of stocks, bonds or other financial instruments. As a condition of acceptance advertisers must assure us that the instruments have been registered either with the U. S. Securities Exchange Commission or the Attorney General of each State within the United States of America.
Catholic Online does NOT accept sweepstakes advertising.
Advertisements that purposely do not disclose the name of the product or advertiser in an attempt to arouse reader curiosity are acceptable. Teaser ads must be followed within a reasonable time by an advertisement that fully discloses the identity of the product and/or advertiser. Teaser ads must be approved by the Advertising Acceptability Department.
Telephone Toll Line Numbers
Catholic Online does NOT accept advertisements that direct replies to telephone toll line numbers (the national 900 lines and local 540, 970 and 976 exchanges) which connect callers at premium rates. Advertisements for toll line numbers that feature dating service, sex lines, sports picks, psychics, fortune tellers, polls or surveys are NOT acceptable.
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Advertisements in which third parties seek to buy or sell tickets to theatrical productions, sporting events, etc. are NOT acceptable.
See Cigarettes, above.
Advertisements for "topless" or "gentlemen's clubs" are NOT acceptable.
Tout Services, Gambling Tips, etc.
Advertisements for tout services, gambling tips, point spread forecasts or other services whereby an advertiser offers to predict the name of a winning horse, football team, etc., are NOT acceptable.
Transplants of Human Body Parts
Advertisements wherein a person offers to sell parts of the human body (eyes, kidneys, etc.) for transplant purposes are NOT acceptable.
Use of Catholic Online Material
Catholic Online material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic Online.
To acquire reproduction rights or for more information please contact Catholic Online at 661 869-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Any statement or implication that Catholic Online endorses a product or service or that Catholic Online endorses or vouches for statements, assertions or conclusions in a political or opinion advertisement or in an advertising supplement is NOT acceptable.
- The use, in whole or in part, of news reports, feature articles, reviews or OP-Ed page columns written by other than members of Catholic Online staff is NOT permitted.
- The use of Catholic Online photographs is NOT permitted.
- The use of texts of speeches or documents as published in Catholic Online is NOT permitted.
Advertisements that offer weapons such as clubs, tear-gas pens, mace, etc. are NOT acceptable. See also, Firearms, above.
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