VBER DEEP DIVE - Online advertising

12 Jul 2022

VBER DEEP DIVE - Online advertising

Can a supplier restrict the online advertising activities of its buyers?

The prohibition to restrict online sales has been upgraded to the list of hardcore restrictions. As a result, a supplier should be very careful when restricting its buyers in promoting the contract products online. By imposing such restrictions, the supplier may indirectly prevent the effective use of the internet by the buyer or its customers to sell the contract goods or services!

- Restrictions that have the object of preventing the use of an entire online advertising channel, such as search engines or price comparison sites, amount to a hardcore restriction of online sales, and are therefore prohibited.

- Prohibiting the use of particular price comparison services or search engines is generally not a hardcore restriction, as the buyer may in such a case still use other online advertising services to promote its online sales activities. However, prohibiting the use of the most widely used advertising service may amount to a hardcore restriction if the remaining services are not capable of attracting customers to the buyer’s own webshop.

- The use of online advertising channels targeting customers in a territory or customer group that is allocated exclusively to other buyers or is reserved exclusively to the supplier can be restricted, as such a restriction can benefit from the VBER pursuant to the exception of active sales restrictions in the context of exclusive distribution.

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