UVa Seal

Policy: Web Site Advertising 


Date: 11/04/03 Policy ID: IRM-001 Status: Final

Policy Type: University
   
Contact Office: University Web Communications
   
Oversight Executive: Senior Vice President for University Advancement
Chief Information Officer
   
Applies To: All University of Virginia Web pages signified by the address "virginia.edu" or within the range of Internet and Intranet protocol addresses assigned to the University of Virginia. University departments or units with Web sites based on non-University servers must comply with the terms of this policy in order to be linked from the University's home page structure.
   
Table of Contents: 

Policy Statement
Guidelines for Linking and Presentation
Procedures

   
Reason for Policy: 
  1. To comply with IRS regulations concerning tax-exempt status and advertising and sponsorship.
  2. To address the potential for conflict of interest and to assure freedom from influence.
  3. To respond to the recent report of the Office of the Secretary of Technology to the Governor and the General Assembly of Virginia on Advertising and Private Sector Sponsorships on State Web sites, which makes the following statements:

    Serious questions about ethics and potential conflicts of interest would certainly dictate that advertising on government web sites should generally be dismissed out of hand. While there may be some particular web sites (special projects and events, for example) where private sector sponsorships might be acknowledged, nonetheless, advertising on Commonwealth web sites is not acceptable.

    The current administration is developing initiatives that will ban outright the use of pop-up and banner advertising and will substantively limit those few state-related web sites where it might be appropriate to acknowledge sponsorships with subtle logos.
   
Policy Summary: 

The University's Web page must not be used for commercial, non-mission-related purposes. This means that advertising space cannot be sold at any level of the Web page.

   
Definition of Terms in Statement: 

The following definitions should be considered general and applicable to this policy only.

University of Virginia Web page: A page created or maintained by or on behalf of the University of Virginia or an office, department, or division of the University of Virginia and located within the University of Virginia's information technology environment, i.e., signified by the address "virginia.edu" or within the range of Internet protocol addresses assigned to the University of Virginia. [Note: Web page and web site may be used interchangeably.]

Hyperlink or Hypertext Link: A logo, text, or other identifier incorporating a link to a Web site external to the University of Virginia, placed on a UVA Web page without compensation.

Advertising: A logo, text, or other identifier incorporating a link to a Web site external to the University of Virginia, placed on a UVA Web page in exchange for remuneration or gifts in kind, where that placement is intended to promote or market a service, facility or product offered by the entity's Web site for a commercial purpose. Advertising includes messages containing qualitative or comparative language, price information or other indications of savings or value, an endorsement, or an inducement to purchase, sell, or use any company, service, facility or product.

Qualified Sponsorship: A logo, text, or other identifier incorporating a link to a Web site external to the University of Virginia, placed on a UVA Web page to acknowledge donation of services, products, or financial or research support to the University of Virginia or an office, unit, center, department, or division of the University of Virginia.
The IRS defines sponsorship as "a payment for which there is no expectation that the sponsor will receive a 'substantial return benefit,' the income received by the sponsored organization is not subject to tax as unrelated business income."

Banner Ad: A typically rectangular advertisement placed on a Web site, above, below, or to the side of the site's main content area.
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Policy Statement: 

Consistent with University and state policy on the appropriate use of University-owned equipment, the University's Web page must not be used for commercial, non-mission-related purposes.

In practice, this means that advertising space cannot be sold at any level of the Web page. "Advertising" refers to any situation in which the University or one of its units receives payment or in-kind gifts in exchange for a link or brand placement on a University Web page.

While advertising cannot be sold at any level, links to commercial vendors may be made in the following specific situations:
Licensed software required for Web viewing:
- The logo or graphic represents licensed software on which a core function of the page is based, e.g., Netscape, Adobe Acrobat Reader, RealAudio, VeriSign.
Links to separately contracted vendor:
- The logo or link is to a vendor or other entity separately contracted to provide services to the University, e.g., ARAmark, TIAA, Fidelity Insurance, Nike.
Sponsorship Recognition:
- Within a unit's Web page, a logo or link can be displayed at that unit's second level page or below to acknowledge support of the unit's mission-related activities through sponsorship. Such logos or links are deemed to be recognition of corporate or other external sponsorship; payment may not be accepted for that link or logo.
Educational Purposes:
- The text link provides information for educational or other mission-related purposes and the University has received no consideration for incorporating that link.

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Guidelines for Linking and Presentation

In all of these cases, a link should provide information for educational or other mission-related purposes and the University cannot have received consideration for incorporating that link.

Such links should in no way imply endorsement of products or services offered by the external entity. Any descriptive text accompanying the link should be value-neutral. Acceptable language might include: "For more information: [link]." Unacceptable language: "Check out this great Web site [link]."

Such links should go to the home page of the entity's Web site and, wherever possible, links should not go to pages on which products or commercial services are offered for sale. The logo, text, or graphic should not include any qualitative or comparative language or descriptions of the non-University party's products, services, facilities, or company, including but not limited to price information, inducement to purchase, endorsements, savings, or value.

Particularly in cases where a group of external hyperlinks is included, the following language is recommended for inclusion: Links to Web sites external to the University of Virginia should not be considered endorsement of those Web sites or any information contained therein.

In all cases, the design of departmental or unit pages that incorporate commercial links must be consistent with established graphic and placement standards for University Web pages. (See guidelines for Web design, http://www.virginia.edu/webpagestandards.html.) For example, commercial or text logos or display material may not be placed in the "banner" area, roughly the top quarter of a page and pop-up notice of sponsorship will not be allowed under any circumstances.

Links to sponsors or other corporate recognition on a unit's home page (i.e., the third level off the University home page) will not be allowed except under special circumstances considered on a case-by-case basis by the University's Network-based Information Systems (N-BIS) editorial board. Such examples might be the University Bookstore or the University Press (selling merchandise).
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Procedures: 
  1. Web related advertising policies are established by the N-BIS committee in consultation with the Director of Web Communications and the Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
  2. The Director of Web Communications (Webmaster) monitors the Web and contacts offices that violate the University's Web Advertising Policy.
  3. In consultation with an office that is determined to be in violation of policy, the Director of Web Communication sets a reasonable time for removing from the Web material that does not conform to policy.
  4. If an office should wish to appeal a decision to remove its material from the Web, it may submit a formal appeal (via e-mail) to the Director of Web Communications. Questionable material may be removed from the Web during the appeals process. The Director will forward the appeal for consideration to N-BIS and the Vice President for Information Technology. Final authority rests with the Vice President for Information and technology.
  5. The following sanctions for non-compliance with decisions in regard to Web policy will be exercised: revocation of a department's right to use server space on virginia.edu and forfeiture of links from the University's home pages.
  6. Web advertising policies and procedures are posted on the Copyright, Privacy, and Web Policies at the University page (http://www.virginia.edu/copyright.html). Please note that as written the Web policy contains no exceptions to its rules about Web advertising.
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Related Information: 

Guidelines for Web Design
Analysis of Unrelated Business Income
Appropriate Use of University Equipment
Use of Working Time and University Equipment for Personal or Commercial Purposes

   
Policy Background: This is the first version of this policy.
   
Major Category: Information Resource Management
   
Category Cross Reference: 
   
   
Process: 
   
Next Scheduled Review: 11/04/16
   
Approved By, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 11/04/03
   
Revision History: Updated 12/5/13, 2/15/08.
   
Supersedes (previous policy):  Replaces the February 2001 version inserted in the University's Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Information Resources. http://www.itc.virginia.edu/policy/gwismission.html