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Press Release

Council Steps Up Enforcement of Interest-Based Advertising

PR Newswire

Eugenie Barton to Lead Initiative; Technology Platform in Place

NEW YORK, March 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council of Better Business Bureaus today announced two new steps in the implementation of its online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program: the appointment of Eugenie N. Barton, former vice president and general counsel to the United States Telecom Association, as Director of the program and the signing of a contract with Evidon, Inc., a commercial marketer of monitoring services.

These developments advance enforcement of the Principles established by the cross-industry Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising. The Principles apply consumer-friendly standards to online interest-based advertising and they were developed and are supported by the leading advertising industry trade organizations. The Council was tasked with building an accountability program to promote compliance with the Principles.

Ms. Barton is a privacy and communications industry expert with a strong record of accomplishments across a broad array of major public policy initiatives. Ms. Barton has served the public interest in positions with U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Congress's Office of Compliance and the Federal Communications Commission.

"Genie brings to this position a deep background in communications law and policy and a commitment to assuring the Council's enforcement program achieves the same high standards of industry accountability as our other self-regulatory programs," said Steven A. Cox, President and CEO, Council of Better Business Bureaus. "We are confident that her strong leadership will ensure that the advertising industry lives up to the Principles of the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising."

The Council announced also that it has signed a contract with Evidon to supply technology to monitor online interest-based advertising activities. Evidon will provide services that include analytics derived through its Ghostery unit, lab analysis and its database of companies potentially engaged in the collection and use of information for interest-based advertising.  

"These services will provide the accountability program with a bird's eye view of online interest-based advertising and an early warning system to detect potentially problematic data collection," said Ms. Barton. "We will be monitoring everyone engaged in interest-based advertising – advertising networks, advertising agencies, Web publishers, advertisers and service providers."

The online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program:

  • Monitors the marketplace externally for data that suggests non-compliance with key notice and choice requirements
  • Reviews reports from consumers and other stakeholders regarding potential non-compliance.  The report form is available at https://www.bbb.org/online-behavioral-advertising/report-form/
  • Conducts inquiries into instances of potential non-compliance
  • Reports non-compliance and refers uncorrected non-compliance to government

The online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program supports a system of "enhanced notice" to consumers. The advertising industry has created an industry icon that appears in or near interest-based ads, or elsewhere on the Webpage where the ads are served or data is collected for interest-based advertising, to signal to consumers that the site they are browsing may collect data.  The icon links to a notice of the data collector's practices and provide consumer a "choice" - the ability to opt out of future interest-based advertising.

The industry also has built an expanded industry-wide Website that lists most of the major interest-based advertising data collectors and provides consumers with an easy-to-use link to an opt-out destination. Additional information about the self-regulatory program is available at the site, www.aboutads.info.

The Council administers the advertising industry's self-regulatory programs, including the National Advertising Division, Children's Advertising Review Unit, Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program, and Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, while the National Advertising Review Council (NARC) sets policies and procedures for advertising industry self-regulation.

The NARC Board of Directors – which includes the leadership of the 4As, American Advertising Federation (AAF), American Association of National Advertisers (ANA), CBBB, Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) – has endorsed the Council's Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program.

"For nearly 40 years, the advertising industry has supported rigorous and effective self-regulation and we have a deep commitment to the principle that consumers are best served when they are fully informed. We look forward to applying the same principles of transparency and full disclosure to the dynamic new online advertising market," said Lee Peeler, NARC President and CEO and Executive Vice President, National Advertising Self-Regulation, CBBB.

About BBB: As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 65 million consumers rely on BBB Reliability Reports® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.

About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the CBBB's Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).

The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).  Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation. For more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.

SOURCE Council of Better Business Bureaus

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