The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has launched a site dedicated to providing consumers with clear and easy-to-understand information about online behavioural advertising including a one-stop ‘opt out’ page. The site aims to educate consumers about online ads based on an individual user’s surfing habits, such as the controversial technology behind Phorm. The new site includes a ‘quick facts’ download and five top tips to help them protect their privacy online. The site launch, supported by pay per click activity, coincides with companies completing the first stage of compliance with the IAB’s Good Practice Principles.
All founder signatories of the Good Practice Principles with live commercial services in the UK have now self-certified their compliance with the core commitments in the Principles, unveiled in March 2009.
The IAB-led initiative now enters its second phase with the appointment of the ABCe to independently verify that all self-certified companies are meeting their obligations.
Those passing the ABCe verification process will receive a badge of compliance, to be displayed on their website. The aim is to publish the ABCe results early in 2010.
The IAB has also created a central page where users can opt out of behavioural advertising – http://www.youronlinechoices.co.uk/opt-out.
The site also hosts a complaints process for users to reach the right company if they wish to complain about behavioural advertising in relation to the Principles.
The IAB will be making the site easy for users to find through search engines and via key websites such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK data protection regulator.
Recognising that the marketing industry is at different levels of understanding about behavioural advertising, the IAB has teamed up with leading technology firm AudienceScience, to produce a guide to behavioural advertising for advertisers, agencies and publishers. The guide includes contributions from leading behavioural advertising players, including Yahoo! and AOL.
The guide, to be published later this month, provides an overview of how behavioural advertising works, practical advice on how it benefits brands, good practice case studies and new research on consumer attitudes to behavioural advertising.
The IAB Good Practice Principles
The Good Practice Principles set out commitments to transparency, user choice and education. The Principles complement current UK law with new practices relating to the collection and use of all online data – personal and anonymous – for this purpose. All companies that sign up to the Principles have six months to comply with three core commitments:
· Notice – a company collecting and using online data for behavioural advertising – such as a website publisher, ad network or technology company – must clearly inform a consumer that data is being collected and used for this purpose.
· Choice – a company collecting and using online data for behavioural advertising must provide a mechanism for users to decline behavioural advertising and where applicable seek a consumer’s consent (where data protection law or specific regulatory guidance applies).
· Education – a company collecting and using online data for behavioural advertising must provide consumers with clear and simple information about their use of data for this purpose and how users can decline.
Nick Stringer, head of regulatory affairs for the IAB, said: “This is a key milestone for the behavioural advertising industry. Six months on from the launch of the Good Practice Principles and those founding signatories with live commercial services in the UK have self-certified they are compliant. ABCe’s independent verification will provide internet users, industry and government with greater assurance that industry takes concerns about privacy seriously and is working to address them via industry good practice to build greater trust in this practice.
“Over the past few months we have developed www.youronlinechoices.co.uk to give users greater information and choice about data collection and use for behavioural advertising. Users can visit the site to find out more, get advice and, if they don’t want more relevant advertising, to opt out of the businesses that are complying with the IAB’s Good Practice Principles.”
Richard Foan, MD of ABCe said: “Self regulation, underpinned by the trust delivered through the independent UK industry-owned auditor ABCe, will ensure high standards for this market – something that should be applauded by the industry as a whole.”
The companies currently complying with the IAB Good Practice Principles are:
MSN/Microsoft Media Network