The Commission also wishes to bring to your attention its views in respect of other less traditional types of advertising that have become to be used more frequently.
It is the Commission’s view that if your website has links to social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc then the content of any material on those sites also needs to be PIPA compliant.
Accordingly, if the content on those sites refers to personal injuries, then pursuant to section 66 of PIPA, as those sites do not form part of your own website, the range of material which would be allowable in those formats is limited to your name, contact details and information as to your areas of practice and speciality.
That means that content such as photographs, videos, images, client testimonials, slogans, mottos and self promotional statements are not allowable.
That type of material may be made available to an existing client or a genuine enquirer. However it is the Commission’s position that a casual viewer or browser of those internet sites cannot be considered to be a genuine enquirer.
Accordingly, using a search engine to make a generic type search request such as “personal injury lawyers brisbane” does not make that person a client or a genuine enquirer under PIPA. Please refer to the guide previously published by the Commission on that point.
In addition, practitioners are requested to review any separate webpage or advertisement set up by way of an arrangement with Yellow Pages online, Google Ads or other similar body.
The Commission previously published a guide noting the difference between organic links and sponsored links on internet search pages. In the case of sponsored links that guide noted that the PIPA restrictions apply not only to the online advertisement (that is - what is displayed on the search result page) but also to the web pages linked to that advertisement.
The Commission is aware that many firms have failed to ensure that non compliant material is not accessible through those means.
As those types of advertisements and the pages linked to them generally do not form part of a practitioner’s own website the range of material which would be otherwise allowable in that format is, as with social media sites, limited to only your name, contact details and information as to your areas of practice and speciality.
As such all results pages, landing pages and other web pages accessible through such sponsored links must comply with section 66(1) of PIPA.
The same applies to organic links. Whilst the content of what is displayed on the search result page may not be within the control of practitioners, the Commission’s view is that any web pages accessible from such links must be PIPA compliant.
As these pages form part of a practitioner’s own website the allowable information can, apart from the information allowed under a sponsored link, also include details of the law of negligence, a person’s rights in respect of that law and the terms and conditions under which you are prepared to offer your services.
Practitioners are urged to review this form of advertising and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance.