Online brand endorsements in UAE comes at a cost now

Posted on 31th, Jul 18

The mandate of prioritizing customer needs to succeed in business is well known, but in recent years getting your business to your customer is getting more difficult. This is where brand promotion comes in! Business Registration Dubai has enjoyed free brand promotion through social and electronic media until now. But not anymore!

National Media Council (NMC) has issued a circular regarding a new law which urges all entities engaged in commercial activities in the social and electronic media to register with NMC’s electronic media regulations before the end of May 31, 2018. According to this law

  • Individuals and companies who engage in commercial activities online should get registered and licensed by NMC
  • Only non-commercial social media influencers, blogs and personal pages are exempted from these new regulations

The why’s of the regulations: The goal of these new regulations is to enhance competitiveness, increase reliability and encourage balanced, responsible and impartial media content. In the age of rapid growth and spread of electronic media, these regulations are put in place to respect the privacy of individuals and protect society’s various segments from negative influences.

An influencer as we know is an individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage in. They have the power to affect the purchase decisions of others based on their authority/ knowledge/popularity. They use their popularity to build brands and command rich endorsements.

Now influencers in UAE or influencers who make money by promoting brands in UAE will need two licences under the new regulations. They should have a trade license before they can apply for the special e-media license. This implies that they are responsible for the content they promote on e-media thus bringing about responsibility and reliability. This applies to news websites, electronic publishing mediums, on-demand printing and social media activities that are commercial in nature. Individuals and companies that voluntarily promote brands are not affected by these regulations.

The e-media license costs Dhs 15000 per year and should be renewed each year. If anyone fails to obtain the license before promoting commercial content on e-media, they are charged a fine of Dhs 5000. Those who earn their bread by being an influencer will now have to consider if it is going to be financially worthwhile. But it is noteworthy that more than 600 registrations were filed with NMC in a span of 5 days.

How to obtain one?

  • You can apply for one if you are 25 years of age or above
  • You should not have been sentenced to a crime of dishonesty, unless rehabilitated or pardoned by authorities
  • You should be a citizen of UAE or one of the gulf cooperation council countries
  • You should make sure you have the right trade license relevant to your profession.
  • Check the National Media Council website
  • You will have to complete the application procedure by yourself or by a notarised person
  • Make sure to have a copy of your Emirates ID, trade license, title deed or a registered tenancy contract

Obtaining this license may take up to 15-20 minutes entirely. But influencers should remember that they would be called out by others for their actions and NMC will most likely respond to the complaints made against them. So they should take extra care to respect the privacy of others and protect the society from negative influence.