A History of Self-Regulation


The Better Business Bureau has always been an important player in the continuing effort to encourage business self-regulation in New York and in America.

Combating Deception in Business Communications

Almost a century ago, the BBB system was founded in New York City by the Gentlemen’s Advertising League, now known as the Ad Club of New York. The initial purpose was to curb deceptive advertising practices, which hurt legitimate business communicators as well as consumers. The Better Business Bureau is a long-time leader in business communications review, fraud prevention, and education.

Nine out of ten consumers (90%) agree that if they saw a deceptive advertisement, they would ask the Better Business Bureau to investigate. - Internet survey on perceptions of BBB

Your Better Business Bureau still actively educates businesses about advertising best practices through its BBB Code of Advertising. It also helps consumers learn more about smart shopping and buying habits. In 2001, the BBB released a new set of guidelines, created to embrace issues raised by e-commerce, the BBB Code of Business Practices. The BBB system is a widely -recognized leader in international efforts to promote business self-regulation online.

Keeping Consumer Dollars in the Legitimate Economy

In 1922, the Metropolitan New York Better Business Bureau was founded by the New York Stock Exchange to fight investment fraud, a problem that is still topical and being addressed by this Bureau today. Dollars that are lost to fraudulent investments, as well as other types of scams, cannot be invested in the legitimate economy.

All reputable companies in the New York area have a stake in keeping consumer dollars circulating among firms that do business responsibly. This is an important part of the Better Business Bureau’s work.