Apr 29, 2011 at 06:15 PM
written by Kris Mathis

Groupon Pulls Plug On 'Fake Sponsorship That Didn't Exist'

When you're at an event and you see a brand's logo on a banner, in many cases you'll assume that the brand has an official relationship with the event. But on the web, ad networks can deliver your promotional copy to sites you've never approved, or worse, never even heard of. This, of course, doesn't relieve the advertiser from their obligation to review in advance where they place their own ads.

After receiving complaints about a "sponsorship" of the Apprentice, Groupon has taken action to remove ads from the show's website and responded to the issue by educating their own customers about the differences between sponsorships and ad networks, writing:

"Someone online began a petition to boycott Groupon because they believed we were a sponsor of the Apprentice, a show that is in the middle of some political criticism at the moment.

Then, just like that, it was announced we were pulling our sponsorship and boycotting the Apprentice and NBC. Pulling a fake sponsorship that didn’t exist….

Here’s the thing: Groupon has never been a sponsor of The Apprentice on TV or on the web. We invest heavily in online advertising through networks that place ads on a rolling basis, meaning that we know one will appear on NBC.com but not specifically which page. We know that some advertising appeared on the Apprentice home page a few weeks ago."

Trouble is, many customers don't even know the differences between advertising and sponsorship, so expecting them to take the extra step to learn about an ad network, might be a moot point. In any case, as the blog post states Groupon has pulled the ads. #newstag #opinionstag