Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principle No. 1: Education

Last month, Legal Bytes reported to you that the Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in concert with the Council of Better Business Bureaus, released its Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principles. As reported, the major participants in the online advertising industry have proposed to apply these principles to their practices related to online behavioral advertising: “the collection of data from a particular computer or device regarding Web viewing behaviors over time and across non-Affiliate Web sites for the purpose of using such data to predict user preferences or interests to deliver advertising to that computer or device based on the preferences or interests inferred from such Web viewing behaviors.”

Since we promised to provide you with a bit more detail regarding each of these principles, which are listed below, here is our first installment in fulfilling that commitment. The seven enumerated principles are:

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

The Education principle requires everyone in the online behavioral environment to participate in meaningful efforts to educate consumers and businesses about behavioral advertising, the purpose of the Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principles, and the potential benefits and consumer choices that are available when these principles are followed, and to explain to consumers the means and implications of exercising their rights and the choices they may have. While the specifics of all of the proposed educational outreach are yet to be established within the framework of the industry groups that have formulated these principles, the one thing that was agreed on as a tangible, quantitative objective is that through industry-developed website(s) and a major online education campaign, the initial educational outreach would be developed to achieve at least 500,000,000 (yes, that’s five hundred million) impressions over the next 18 months. Thanks to Keri Bruce for her input. Stay tuned for highlights of the six other principles.