How to make money from Spanish-language ad campaigns
In the United States, a Spanish-speaking publisher could pay an advertiser a minimum of $5,000 to $20,000 for each advert that reaches Spanish-speakers.
But in Spain, the practice is not widely tolerated.
If a publisher pays an advertisor, they’re obligated to report that payment to the Spanish regulator, the Office of Public Auditors, which is responsible for regulating all Spanish- and Portuguese-language advertising.
The office’s rules are stricter than in the United Kingdom, where the Advertising Standards Authority rules out paying advertisers to run ads in English, French or Spanish.
“They can’t charge more than they’re allowed to,” said Jaime Salas, a professor of marketing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“In France, for example, it is illegal for a publisher to pay an advertising agency for running ads in a language other than English.
So, for the Spanish- to Portuguese-speaking audience, that would be considered an advertising fraud.”
Salas added that the Spanish watchdog doesn’t consider ads to be illegal advertising, because they don’t violate advertising laws, but “there is no legal justification for this practice.”
The Office of the Public Auditor, which oversees Spain, has reported at least $8.5 billion in unpaid payments in 2015 alone.
The total figure, however, is likely much higher because it includes payments that have been deferred, according to the watchdog’s annual report.
The Office for the Protection of Electronic Communications, which investigates alleged violations of the EU’s digital privacy rules, reported an average of $10.5 million in unpaid advertising payments in 2016, a number that includes several cases of payments that were made years ago.
That number is likely far higher, as the watchdog doesn, in fact, pay out a fraction of what it says it does.
Salas said Spanish publishers are being encouraged to pay their ads to Spanish-only ad agencies, but the practice violates advertising laws in several countries.
Salinas said the Spanish government is currently considering legislation that would require ad agencies to report unpaid payments to the regulator, but it is unclear whether the measure will pass.
In Spain, “the regulator can’t say, ‘We don’t want to make any more payments,’ ” said Salas.
“It has to make a decision.
They have to decide, because that’s what the regulator is there to do.”
The government’s decision to make payments to ad agencies in Spanish will likely make it harder for publishers to comply with European rules, according David Stemler, the European director of the Open Rights Group, a human rights organization in the Netherlands.
“This is a bad precedent for the future,” Stemersaid.
Spain’s advertising industry is a $5 trillion business, and some of the biggest companies are based in the Spanish capital.
Salas believes the government’s actions will help make Spanish publishers more competitive in the global advertising market.
“The Spanish government’s new regulations are going to make it more difficult for publishers who are doing legitimate business in Spain to make those payments,” he said.
“That’s a good thing.”
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