Advertiser Acceptance Policy
This CBS Interactive™, Inc. Online Advertiser and Creative Acceptance Policy applies to ads displayed on CBS Interactive web properties based in the U.S.*
General Creative Standards
Creative materials should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Streaming audio and video experiences within ad units are allowed, as long as the audio portion starts only when initiated by the user via a click.
- Animations up to 30 seconds in duration are permitted. Animation should run smoothly and must not interrupt or interfere with the rest of the page on which the creative is displayed.
- Pop-ups and pop-under ads are not allowed and cannot be used as part of an ad’s destination/landing page on any CBS Interactive Sites.
- Creative must not contain excessive punctuation (multiple question marks, exclamation points, etc.).
- Creative materials containing any CBS Interactive trademarks or logos are not allowed without permission. Information on use of CNET.com’s Editors’ Choice Award logos can be found here.
- Creative materials must identify the advertiser and/or the product or service that is being promoted.
Creative “Look and Feel” Cannot Resemble CBS Interactive Sites
- Creative material that resembles the visual style of the content area and/or the CBS Interactive Site on which it is displayed is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to using the colors, marks, fonts or icons explicitly associated with the applicable CBS Interactive Site; for example, an ad on CNET News should not appear to be a CNET News article.
- Ads must have a border or otherwise clearly stand out from the CBS Interactive Site on which they are displayed. For example, white ads must have a border when displayed on a white background.
- Editors’ ratings used in an ad must apply to the version of the product being promoted in the ad. Older ratings must not be applied to newer versions of the products. The rating must be accompanied by the date the product was reviewed and the rating issued.
- Language such as “Recommended” or “Most Popular Download” must include date and source attribution. The use of this language is subject to approval to ensure the ad does not resemble the visual style of the CBS Interactive Site on which it is displayed.
CBS Interactive Site-Specific Creative Standards
The following is NOT allowed:
- For CNET Download, the use of Arial and Helvetica typefaces, the “Download Now” language, the CNET Download shuttlecock () and user opinion graphics are not allowed.
- For CNET Download, green call to action buttons are not allowed.
- For CNET Download, “Download Now” is not allowed as a call to action.
- For CNET Download, call to action buttons cannot be larger than the CNET Downloads call to action (180 pixels wide).
- For CNET Download, copy in the ads must be easily readable and must have adequate contrast with the background color (i.e., no light gray on a white background).
- For GameSpot, GameFAQs, and GameRankings, creative materials containing text or images promoting “gold trading” within online games are not allowed.
- Creative material resembles the visual style of the content area
- Ad has no border
- Editor’s rating does not have source and date attribution
- Use of CNET Logo allowed only if licensed
- Use of the Arial and Helvetica typefaces, the “Download Now” language, or the CNET Download shuttlecock () is not allowed
Creative Content and Functionality Must Not Mislead Users
Ads may NOT:
- Resemble Windows error messages or actionable site navigation buttons that may confuse users.
- Appear to make the page look broken or as if something is not working on a webpage.
- Utilize “Focus” commands to make the ad the active window when the creative loads (i.e. automatically entering the cursor into the creative and/or inserting the I-beam cursor into an editable text field in the creative).
- Utilize fake “Close” buttons. Close buttons must function.
- Utilize “mouse trapping,” whereby the advertiser does not allow use of the back button and traps users on their site.
- Contain copy that is misleading or inaccurate.
Prohibited Creative Content
Ads may NOT:
- Facilitate or promote hate speech, whether directed at an individual or a group, and whether based upon the race, sex, creed, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or language of such individual or group.
- Contain obscene, profane, libelous, or slanderous text or images.
- Contain any adult and/or borderline adult content (images or text), whether directly or indirectly promoted.
- Allow a user to rate an image of a person in a banner.
- Promoting gambling, where the user will play for money or property.
- Promote products or services from uncertified pharmacies.
- Promote web-based degree programs from non-accredited colleges.
- Promote or facilitate defamatory or illegal activities.
Creative Subject to CBS Interactive Pre-Approval
The following creative materials are allowed with restrictions and require prior approval by CBS Interactive:
- Creative materials that promote, whether directly or indirectly, beer, wine, hard liquor, tobacco products, or firearms. Such creative may run only in areas where at least 70% of the population is above the legal age, and is subject to review and prior approval.
- Creative materials promoting political agendas.
- Creative containing religion- and spirituality advice-related content.
- Creative containing personals/dating content.
- Creative containing sex advice-related content.
- Creative materials promoting sites and services which compete with the CBS Interactive Sites and/or services.
- Creative materials promoting sweepstakes or contests.
Creative Promoting Software
Creative materials promoting software may not:
- Automatically trigger downloads, unless previously approved by CBS Interactive.
- Present download dialog boxes that do not require user initiation via a click to perform a download. The user must be notified that the download will take place upon user initiation via a click. Complete and accurate information about what the software does and how to remove the software must be easily available to the user.
- Pretend to know details about a user’s computer/system, including what is/is not installed, whether it has discovered viruses, worms, corrupted files, etc.
- Promote or contain viruses, worms, corrupted files, cracks or other materials that are intended to or may damage or render inoperable software, hardware or security measures of CBS Interactive, any user of the CBS Interactive Sites and/or services, or any third party.
- Contain content that facilitates and/or promotes, whether directly or indirectly, the sale or use of the following:
- Software whose purpose is to collect demographic and usage information from a user’s computer without the user’s express consent.
- Software that “sneaks” onto a user’s system and performs activities hidden to the user.
- Software bundled as hidden components of other software, whether free or for a fee.
- Software that may—in any way—alter, harm, disable, or replace any software installed on a user’s computer without express permission from the user.
Personally Identifiable Information
If the ad requires the user to provide Personally Identifiable Information (PII), the following requirements apply:
- There must be a clear presentation of how the information collected is being used.
- None of the information collected can be shared with a third party without an explicit opt-in.
- Any follow-up communication from the advertiser resulting from the PII collected via CBS Interactive advertisements must contain an explicit opt-out (this applies to every single piece of unsolicited promotional e-mail).
- The advertiser must be in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
Final and ongoing approval of all creative material is at the sole discretion of CBS Interactive. In addition, CBS Interactive reserves the right to re-evaluate previously approved creative materials at any time to ensure ongoing compliance with our guidelines and to ensure an optimal user experience, as well as in the event that the creative elicits a significant amount of negative feedback from our users.
*Such web properties include but are not limited to: CNET®, CHOW™, GameSpot®, GameFAQs™, Metacritic®, mySimon™, TechRepublic®, TV.com™, UrbanBaby®, and ZDNet® (the “CBS Interactive Sites”).
At any time and for any reason in its sole discretion, CBS Interactive reserves the right to: (a) refuse any advertising/advertisers; (b) make exceptions to this policy on a case-by-case basis; (c) take down ads it deems inappropriate; and (d) make changes or additions to this policy. CBS Interactive, Inc. is herein referred to as CBS Interactive.
This document is a supplement to CBS Interactive ad specifications. All ads must meet these specifications in order to be displayed on any CBS Interactive Sites.
Last Updated: March 19, 2010.