October 20, 2013

APCON set to tighten online advertising regulations


The Advertisers Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON is set to tighten regulations on all forms of advertising carried out through the internet medium.

The Chairman of APCON, Lolu Akinwumi stated this while speaking to Vanguard on the sideline of an event to present corporate licences and certificates to some organisations under the new APCON regime in Lagos recently.

He said that owing to unique challenges that online advertising pose for regulation, the regulation agency would partner with Google and other online classified ad operators in the country to strengthen regulation and protect consumers.

According to him, ‘Regulating all advertising contents has always been and will continue to be APCON’s core duty. We have the Advertising Standard Panel, ASP, which under the law, has the power and the responsibility to vet all advertising materials in all media including the internet for the Nigerian market.’

He however added that, ‘There are obvious challenges because the monitoring of the internet is something that poses its own problems but having said that, the council of APCON is working with Google and the other online advert operators to ensure that there is enough control on the content that goes out of the websites of all the big organizations.’

When contacted on how they are regulating advertising through the internet medium, two of the leading online classifieds operators in Nigeria, OLX and Karewa, said they already have mechanisms in place that ensures that fraudulent contents are warded off and consumers protected.

“We have people who read every ad submitted before it is posted and there are certain things that they look out for to ensure that it is not a scam. We generally take zero tolerance approach to that kind of entry and we do not let it go. We also report to local authorities like the police if we pick up such things. We know we cannot guarantee 100 per cent safety but we do all the things we can to protect our users,” said Ms Browyn Johnson, Head of Marketing, OLX Africa.

For Nino Njopkou who is the Chief Executive Officer of, although regulating online advertising contents poses huge challenge for operators, the company has put in place several mechanisms to protect its users.
He said, “On the Internet, fraud is a big issue that all User Generated Content, UGC websites confront.