BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Harlem Globetrotters Modify Website Better Comply with CARU Guidelines; Company Agrees to Do So

New York, NY – June 24, 2015 – Harlem Globetrotters Inc., operator of, said it will revise age-screening practices to comply with Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) guidelines.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. CARU monitors advertising to children in all media.

CARU also examines websites and apps for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising – which includes guidelines on online privacy protection – and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). came to the attention of CARU through advertising in Boy’s Life magazine. The website features information about the Harlem Globetrotters team.

Upon its initial review of the site, CARU observed that visitors could sign up for an e-newsletter by providing personal information that included first and last name, email address and zip code. Visitors were directed to check a box if “you are 13 or older.”

In this case, CARU had to first determine whether the site was directed to children. To make such a determination, CARU looks to the definition of website or online service directed to children found in COPPA, which considers “subject matter, visual content, use of animated characters or child-oriented activities and incentives, music or other audio content, age of models, presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to children, language or other characteristics of the website or online service, as well as whether advertising promoting or appearing on the website or online service is directed to children.”

CARU found that the site, which also serves a large adult demographic, is directed to children, but does not target children as its primary audience. CARU determined that the site was permitted to age-screen its users to establish whether they were under age 13, triggering the need for parental consent before collecting personally identifiable information.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, HGI said that it is “committed to ensuring a safe online experience for children specifically in connection with

Prior to notification by CARU, HGI was unaware that its website was not in accord with the guidelines of CARU and COPPA. HGI respectfully accepts CARU’s decision and agrees to reasonably work with CARU and its staff to rectify the identified issues and make the Website fully compliant with the guidelines of both CARU and COPPA.”