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.*

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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’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 standards must be adhered to:

  • Ad creative look and feel cannot resemble the style of
  • Use of the color green in an ad’s click-to-action must be approved by
  • Usage of any of’s marks, logos or icons is not allowed
  • The phrase “Download Now” is not allowed as a call to action. (Start Download, Download Here, and similar calls to action are ok)
  • Usage of the “download” logo is not allowed
  • Usage of Download branded “down arrow” (AKA shuttlecock) is not allowed
  • Call to action buttons for 728×90 & 300×250 banners cannot be bigger than 180×40 pixels
  • Call to action buttons for 970×66 banners cannot be bigger than 200×40 pixels
  • Call to action buttons for 728×90 & 970×66 ad sizes must be right aligned
  • Borders are required & all design elements must be within the border
  • Copy in the ads must be easily readable. If text and background colors are similar, text contrast must be a minimum of 50% contrast
  • Ad must include company or product logo, or mention the company name and/or product name in text. If mentioning the name of the company or product in text form, height of the text must be a minimum of 30px.
  • Must include source & date attribution when referring to recommendations/awards/reviews/popularity/ranks from a reputable source
  • Competitive claims against other companies are not allowed
  • User reviews and user ratings are not available for use
  • Cannot resemble Windows error messages or actionable site navigation buttons that may confuse users
  • Cannot appear to make the page look broken or as if something is not working on a web page
  • Banner click cannot automatically trigger a download unless previously approved by CBS Interactive/
  • All final and ongoing approval of all creative material is at the sole discretion of CBS Interactive/

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.
  • Advertisers must provide instructions within their privacy policy for how to opt-out of any future unsolicited promotional communication—e-mail or otherwise.
  • 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®, Chowhound™, GameSpot®, GameFAQs™, Metacritic®, mySimon™, TechRepublic®,™, 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.