NEWS4 October 2010

Ad bodies put online behavioural advertising principles into practice

Government North America

US— American advertising associations are setting out to prove self-regulation can work with an initiative to inform consumers about online behavioural advertising, how it works and how they can opt out of it.

With legislative threats hanging overhead, organisations including the IAB, the Association of National Advertisers and the Direct Marketing Association have developed an ‘Advertising Option Icon’ which is meant to be displayed within or near online adverts and web pages where data is collected and used for behavioural advertising.

Speaking as the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), the trade bodies explain that by clicking on the icon, consumers should be linked to “a clear disclosure statement” regarding the advert or website’s online behavioural advertising data collection and use practices as well as an easy-to-use opt-out option”.

The presence of the icon is also meant to indicate adherence to the previously published Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioural Advertising. Along with the information website, the DAA hopes to answer the concerns of privacy groups who have long argued for tougher data privacy rules and more transparency in how advertisers use consumer information.

IAB chief executive Randall Rothenberg said: “Marketers, agencies and media companies need to talk to their audiences. They need to describe what they do, how they do it and the value it brings. Transparency and choice are essential in reinforcing that trust, and trust is a critical underpinning of growth – for the marketing and media industries as well as for the entire economy.”

The DAA is currently recruiting marketers, ad networks and publishers to take part in the scheme, and once they do, web users will be able to visit the AboutAds site to opt-out of some or all participating behavioural advertising systems.

At a congressional hearing in July, Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz said the commission was considering developing its own opt-out mechanism in response to concerns over online tracking.