April 25, 2011

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), a self-regulatory body that develops industry best practices and effective solutions for consumer choice in online behavioral advertising (OBA), announced the next phase in the enforcement of the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising.

Ad networks, publishers and others engaged in OBA are being contacted by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) with requests to report their compliance status, in accordance with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. Companies must demonstrate that they are in compliance with the Principles or that they are on a commercially reasonable path to compliance. In particular, companies must show that they are providing consumers with notice of OBA collection and use, and, where applicable, displaying of the DAA’s Advertising Option Icon and offering consumers choice through an easy-to-use opt-out mechanism.

“No self-regulatory program is credible unless it’s enforced and there is a real sense of accountability,” said Genie Barton, Director, Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability, BBB. “Participation by all segments of the OBA ecosystem is critical to the success of the DAA’s Self-Regulatory Program. The BBB’s advertising industry self-regulation programs have a strong track record. At the National Advertising Division of the BBB, for example, the compliance rate with self-regulatory decisions is 95 percent. We are confident that we will achieve the same success guiding companies to compliance with the DAA Principles.”

The BBB and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) are coordinating enforcement efforts for the Self-Regulatory Program including, monitoring participating companies for Program compliance, investigating and reporting potentially non-compliant companies to the appropriate government agencies, as well as managing consumer/company complaint resolution. Additionally, both the BBB and DMA are using a technology platform that enables them to scrutinize companies’ compliance and identify potential red flags.

“The DMA has a longstanding history of educating and enforcing its online marketing guidelines to build consumer trust and accountability of our members,” said Senny Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Social Responsibility, DMA. “We are actively responding to consumer complaints and we are coordinating with the BBB in our monitoring and enforcement of the Principles and DMA guidelines.”

Further, to assist companies with their implementation of the Principles, DAA has recognized three approved providers—DoubleVerify, EVIDON and TRUSTe—whom companies can work with to facilitate their implementation of the Principles and delivery of the Advertising Option Icon and Consumer Choice Page.

“With the cooperative support of the BBB and the DMA, the DAA has created a robust Self-Regulatory Program with serious enforcement standards,” said Peter Kosmala, DAA’s newly appointed Managing Director. “Participating companies and any entity engaging in OBA that abide by the Principles and participate in our Program understand the value in building and ensuring the trust of their customers. It is through these combined efforts that we will achieve a real sense of transparency that will not only resonate with consumers, but also government regulators.”

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