Siinda Code of Professional Practice
This Code sets out standards which members of Siinda engage to respect, so as to ensure their users and customers of the reputable quality of their products, services, and business practices, as outlined by Siinda Articles of Association.
Digital advertising and search and information services: it consists of creating content and/or collecting data, arranging systematically, and maintaining content and/or data so that search along a logical path yields the information being sought. It gathers, for instance, directories, databases, guides, search engines, social networks, directory assistance, classified media in printed, electronic or any appropriate form, and services such as local search, group buying and deals, lead generation, reservation, location-based and marketing.
Products and services: it gathers the products and services that Siinda members propose to their users or customers. It can be physical products such as printed books as well as intangible services such as online search, digital advertising services, presence management, hosting services, websites, and other relevant digital advertising services.
Advertising: any form of non-personable marketing communications carried by the media, usually in return for payment or other valuable consideration (cf ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Consolidated Code)
Marketing communications: it includes advertising as well as other techniques, such as promotions, sponsorships, and marketing, and should be interpreted broadly to mean any communications produced directly by or on behalf of marketers intended primarily to promote products or to influence consumer behaviour (cf ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Consolidated Code)
Personal data: it refers information relating to data subjects as defined in article 4 of the EU General Data protection Regulation (GDPR). All Siinda members abide to GDPR and ensure compliance with GDPR principles, even if they are not based in the EU.
Publishers/providers: it refers to Siinda members who are producing products and/or services falling under the scope of the definition of search and database publishing.
SIINDA 9 CORE PRINCPLES
- Clear identity and identification of the company and of the product/service offered.
- Completeness and lawfulness of the product/service
- Canvassing customers and distributing products/services in a professional way
- Fair advertising, in full respect of legal and self-regulatory rules
- Responsibility of the publishers/providers
- Ensuring data and privacy protection
- Respect of intellectual property rights
- Compliance with Competition law
- General Compliance and training
1. Clear identity and identification of the company and of the product/service offered
Identity of the company: The identity of the member should be apparent. It should, where appropriate, include contact information and the legal postal address of the company and the name(s) of the responsible person(s) to enable the user to get in touch with the publisher or service provider without difficulty.
Identification of the product/service: Every directory product must show the relevant title and subtitles, the date of publication or frequency of update, the name and address of the publisher with relevant contact details and if necessary other identifiers such as the company’s registration or accreditation details
Every service proposed by a Siinda member must be clearly identifiable as such and a clear distinction should be made between free and paying services.
Titles or subtitles should be explicit enough to avoid any misunderstanding about the contents and/or completeness of the product or service referred to.
2. Completeness and lawfulness of the product/service
Completeness and proof of existence: Publishers and providers should be able to provide evidence of the existence of a directory/local search product or of a related service, if requested by an advertiser or a customer. They should also ensure that the product or service in question contains information, which is as complete as the title promises, accurate and up to date to the best knowledge of the provider.
3. Canvassing customers and distributing products/services in a professional way
Canvassing of customers should be done in a lawful way: Users should clearly know with which company they are trading and therefore all trademark and copyright laws should be obeyed. In particular, one should not use a title, order form or advertising leaflet which through similarity with those used by other firms could confuse the consumer. The customer should receive a copy or acknowledgement of the order and payment must not be demanded for a directory entry or listing in a database that has not been ordered or agreed to.
Distribution and promotion: The promised distribution and/or accessibility indicated on promotional material or within the product or service must be upheld, it is the responsibility of the provider to ensure offline and online products or services remain fully accessible during the period indicated.
4. Fair advertising, in full respect of legal and self-regulatory rules
Use of advertising material: Publishers and providers shall ensure that all advertising material clearly reflects the product or service being represented. Advertising shall not be misleading. If numbers of circulation, users or visitors are used for advertising purposes, the base of these numbers should be neutral and comparable and, if possible, evaluated and validated by independent analytics.
Respect of legal and self-regulation rules: Advertising and marketing communications used in directory/local search products and/or in related services shall comply with the international, EU and national legal requirements as well as with the existing self-regulatory principles on advertising.
5. Responsibility of the publishers/providers
Publishers and providers are responsible for the content of their products and/or services and their compliance with existing legal standards and with the rules of this code and of other applicable self-regulatory codes. Publishers, media owners or contractors, who publish, transmit, deliver, or distribute marketing communications, should exercise due care in the acceptance of them and their presentation to the public.
6. Ensuring data and privacy protection.
Members shall respect the local and/or European rules and regulations governing personal data and privacy protection, especially compliance with the GDPR and related legislation.
Use of data: Personal data should be collected for specified and legitimate purposes and not used in any manner incompatible with those purposes. It should be adequate, relevant, and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which it is collected and/or further processed. It should also be accurate and kept up to date and preserved for no longer than is required for the purpose for which the data were collected. The user shall be informed about the storage and use of his data for specific purposes such as location data. The user shall be able to request removal of his data and receive notification that this has been done.
7. Respect of intellectual property rights
Siinda members must respect the copyright or similar rights of third parties in respect of any materials, text, or graphics reproduced in any publication or any promotional material which they may produce. They also endeavour to respect applicable database protection, trademark and competition rules.
8. Compliance with Competition Law
Siinda members agree to act in manners that fully respect EU and worldwide competition law and especially agree not to act in any matter which may imply collusion or unlawful practices.
Siinda Compliance Competition Dos and Don’ts policy is annexed to this Code and is to be respected by all members and Siinda does not bear any liability in case of a member misconduct.
9.Compliance and training
Compliance: Members are presumed to know and uphold the Code of professional practice at all times. Any party may draw attention to the Siinda of instances of non-compliance with this Code. Siinda will monitor compliance with the Code and will act according to its Statutes in case of non-compliance with the Code, which may lead to the exclusion of a member.
Training: Companies shall provide adequate training for their staff, including raising awareness of the Code and of its major business implications. Siinda will provide ad hoc help for training.
Annex 1 : Siinda Competition Law Compliance Guidelines
As a non-profit professional association, Siinda looks after the common interest of its members by providing information as well as monitoring new legislation and providing trends and thought leadership. The work of Siinda strives from the active interaction of its members for a common target and it gives its members a platform for the sharing of knowledge. Without the active participation of its members a successful work for the association would be impossible.
During the course of meetings and events, Siinda asks all members to be mindful to respect competition/antitrust law by following the guidelines below. These guidelines should be respected at all times, whether during the course of formal meetings or at sideline events and apply regardless of your role at your company.
Procedures during meetings and events
- DO ensure that every formal meeting has a written agenda that has been approved by and circulated to participants prior to the
- DO strictly adhere to the items envisaged in meeting
- DO leave any meeting immediately where anticompetitive conduct takes place, and insist that your exit is noted in the minutes. DO report the incident to legal counsel without
- DO insist that minutes are taken of all formal meetings and that they are circulated afterwards, with details of topics
- DO ensure not to take documents containing confidential information of your company to the meeting.
Exchange of experiences, opinions and information
The work of the association strives from active exchange of opinions and information amongst the members and gives companies a regular opportunity to discuss the market and to exchange information and there is no objection against this. But it has to be taken into account that the exchange of information which may be confidential may be taken as a violation against the competition/antitrust law.
Legitimate topics of discussion
- DO feel free to discuss with other members general issues relevant to the industry such as regulatory developments, joint lobbying, PR or research initiatives, or general trends and risks for the industry, market trends, thought leadership, industry developments, so long as the purpose is not to encourage coordinated action regarding common future commercial
- DO ensure that any information shared with Siinda for the purposes of industry statistics or benchmarking exercises is not commercially sensitive, meaning that it is:
- of a general nature
- publicly available
- historic and not sensitive
- aggregated to hide identification of individual
Topics of discussion to avoid
While anti-competition laws may be complex, they generally forbid discussing or entering into formal or informal agreements regarding activities that may restrain trade. Illegal agreements do not have to be signed contracts and may be as simple as informal understandings between two parties.
To avoid this
- DO NOT discuss things like bid rigging, price fixing, and dividing or allocating specific market territories with competitors.
- DO NOT discuss competitive pressures with competitors nor exchange commercially sensitive information with a competitor.
- If any of these topics of discussion arise when talking with a competitor, such as at an industry association meeting or a trade show, you should stop the conversation immediately and report it to your legal department.
However, the exchange of information is authorised where there is a legitimate interest in data relevant to the market. Industry Associations often receive relevant information which are analysed and consolidated, and which are revering to past strategies, as well as “non-identifying information” which do not give a reverence to individual members. If the shared information is referring to such branch specific market statistics, the competition/antitrust law is not an issue.