The Impetus for (and Limited Power of) Business Self-Regulation: The Example of Advergames


  • The authors gratefully thank Jef I. Richards for his guidance and advice on this article.


When people complain, government agencies often respond. When regulations are threatened, businesses often offer reassurances that the problems can be handled with a self-regulation code. However, past analyses of the power of self-regulation find that while companies' voluntary adherence to self-defined guidelines may effect some change in the activities of some companies, the inherent limitations of self-regulation in the United States may restrict its ability to actually halt or control the undesired practices of others. The recent response by major food manufacturers and marketers to criticism of online games is an example of this mix.