Grant Shapps to be investigated by ad watchdog

Grant Shapps Conservative MP for for Welwyn Hatfield and new Co-Chairman replaced Lady WarsiThe Guardian reports that the website founded by new Conservative co-party chairman Grant Shapps is to be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority after complaints that it “misleadingly implied” that the Tory chairman’s alter ego was a real person.

Shapps and his wife are behind a string of get rich quick marketing websites and the investigation by the ad watchdog comes after a complaint from a blogger.

The investigation has nothing to do with the awful ‘Labour isn’t working’ Tory ad campaign that Shapps unveiled at the weekend, which Lord Ashcroft called “a juvenile waste of money”.

The Plashing Vole, a blogger, complained to the regulator last month that HowToCorp, started by Shapps and his wife in 2000, was an internet marketing firm which had seen the Tory MP “posing as ‘Michael Green’ and/or ‘Sebastian Fox’ to flog … business guides, software and SEO scripts”.

The writer also asked the authority to look into whether the “testimonials” from customers on the website were real: “After a bit of digging, I decided that the enthusiastic endorsements by happy customers of HowToCorp might be just as fictional as Grant’s alter egos.”

The confidential reply from the ASA, which was posted online, said the regulator would be contacting the company to ask for evidence to back up the assertions, the guardian reports.