How Publisher Compliance is Becoming More Important

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In a world where the vast majority of businesses have an online presence, publisher compliance is becoming evermore important.

Within each industry, some rules and regulations must be adhered to. On top of laws and industry standards, businesses must comply with specific advertising bodies and regulators. This is true of healthcare businesses, financial, legal, and even not-for-profit organisations.

Firstly, laws must be adhered to such as the legal age to buy and any country restrictions on your product or service. Most sectors also operate with industry standards that must be met to retain licenses, in the same way as offline proprietors do.

One of the most costly breaches of compliance is data breaches. The Data Protection Act of 1998 was updated in 2018 to GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) to better represent the handling of private data on the internet. Breaches of GDPR are illegal regardless of the industry and can incur severe penalties.

Publisher compliance also means transparency. For example, if the wording on your website or adverts on social media is unclear, it could be viewed as misleading. A customer could then complain and, if their complaint is upheld, you could be liable to pay a significant penalty. To meet these publisher compliance requirements, you must first know what they are, specific to your industry and business.

Professional Handling

Larger businesses may have the scope to hire a full-time compliance team. For others, it is necessary to outsource to a trained professional. This is because compliance regulations are regularly updated, and ignorance of rule changes is no excuse for breaching publisher compliance. Usually, operators are afforded a ‘grace period’ between a new regulation coming into use, and the time when they must ensure all content adheres to it. This is because updating a website to comply with new rules can be a long and arduous undertaking. You must ensure that all previously published content available on the website that is still viewable must be changed to reflect the new compliance laws. As long as you keep on top of compliance regulations, you should have plenty of time to implement the changes.

However, failure to comply after the final date can result in some serious penalties.


Falling foul of compliance regulations can see your business prosecuted and significant fines imposed. The penalties vary between industries and other factors, such as whether or not it was a first-time offence and a genuine error and the damage that has resulted. However, it is not unheard of for businesses to be ‘made an example of’ with seemingly disproportionate penalties issued.

No one is immune, with some of the biggest businesses in the world, including Google, Capital One, Yahoo, Uber, and British Airways suffering some of the heaviest compliance fines ever recorded.

Such juggernauts have deep pockets and can absorb even these multi-million dollar penalties. For a small business, however, a compliance fine can be devastating and can even result in bankruptcy.

That’s why you must ensure all platforms related to your business are fully compliant.

Responsible publishers should be prioritising compliance and allocating some of their budgets specifically to ensure their online platforms are fully compliant with the latest rules. It is also a good idea to future-proof by creating content that adheres to likely new compliance measures before they come into force. One way to do this is to look at the legislation recently implemented in other countries or comparable industries, as this may inform change closer to home.

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