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Bud.tv King Of Controversy

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Earlier this year I wrote an article about Anheuser-Busch launching their online entertainment network called Bud.tv. In the article I mentioned that the company was concerned with installing an effective age verification system.

“We chose Aristotle because of its experience in implementing cutting-edge identity verification systems that work quickly," said Tony Ponturo, vice president of Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch Inc. "Aristotle’s Integrity system will enhance our ability to admit only those adults of legal drinking age to our beer-branded Web sites."

While now twenty-three attorneys general have written to the brewer criticizing the company for not having better tools to screen underaged users. Part of the letter to the company said, “"We feel strongly that since you are creating the programming and controlling the internet-based network, not just advertising on it, you have a higher responsibility to ensure that youth are not exposed to the marketing on your site, we fail to see how your use of age verification on the Bud.tv site is a genuine attempt to keep youth from accessing the site’s content."

One particular issue the attorneys general found fault with is that content on Bud.tv can be downloaded to users iPods and shared with friends through email. The letter went on to say,” If the programming on your site can be downloaded and shared freely … what’s the purpose of engaging any age verification at all?"

Anheuser-Busch Vice President Consumer Affairs Francine Katz said, “media sources have criticized our independent age-verification process as discouraging adult viewers from visiting Bud.tv. Despite the fact that this software has turned away tens of thousands of visitors, we have continued to use it to show that we’re serious about wanting to prevent illegal underage drinking."

While the attorneys general have no evidence that underage children have been exposed to the Web site they believe more can be done to protect them.

From TV to magazines to newspapers, alcohol advertising is widespread. These attorneys general who are upset with Anheuser-Busch are most likely more interested in getting name recognition than protecting children from the evils of Bud.tv.

The 23 attorneys general who sent the letter are from Maine, Louisiana, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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Bud.tv King Of Controversy
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