Advertising Industry Collaboration Releases Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principles

A group of the nation’s largest media and marketing trade associations today released self-regulatory principles to protect consumer privacy in ad-supported interactive media that will require advertisers and websites to clearly inform consumers about data collection practices, and enable them to exercise control over that information.

In an extraordinary show of industry cooperation and collaboration, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau last week released a series of self-regulatory principles, intended to be implemented by 2010 and designed to protect consumer privacy in advertising-supported interactive media. As part of the announcement, the Council of Better Business Bureaus along with the DMA, has agreed to implement accountability programs relative to these principles.

These self-regulatory guidelines come on the heels of a recently released study commissioned by the IAB entitled “Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem,” which reported that the advertising-supported Internet represents 2.1 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), contributing $300 billion to the economy, and has created 3.1 million U.S. jobs.

“Guided by the seven Principles we have announced today, the advertising community is developing one of the most comprehensive self-regulatory programs ever undertaken by the business community. The fast-changing online marketing environment is best addressed by a self-regulatory framework that is transparent, flexible and accountable to consumers’ needs and concerns. On behalf of our 360 members, who collectively invest more than $200 billion annually in marketing communications, we look forward to jointly developing a comprehensive business system that respects and honors these Principles,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO, (ANA).

“This historic collaboration represents businesses and trade associations working together to advance the public interest,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “Although consumers have registered few if any complaints about Internet privacy, surveys show they are concerned about their privacy. We are acting early and aggressively on their concerns, to reinforce their trust in this vital medium that contributes so significantly to the U.S. economy.”

The seven Principles designed to address consumer concerns about use of personal information without wreaking havoc to advertising that subsidizes and supports the vast array of free online content relate to:

  • Education
  • Transparency
  • Consumer Control
  • Data Security
  • Material Changes
  • Sensitive Data
  • Accountability

We will be highlighting each of these principles separately in Legal Bytes over the weeks ahead, but if you would like to read the “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising” report now, in its entirety, just follow the link.