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IAB Tries Giving Self-Policing Another Push; Focus Remains On ‘Opt-Out’

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau is gearing up with another campaign designed to keep the online ad industry’s “self-policing” regime in place as Congressional scrutiny intensifies, USA Today reports. The proposed guidelines say that IAB members should give users the choice of “opting-out” of ad targeting programs that use cookies to track consumers from site to site and serve ads to them based on what they’ve been visiting.

The IAB, and the fellow ad industry trade groups that partnered on the proposals face an uphill battle. A House subcommittee focused on behavioral targeting last month appeared pretty eager to enact legislation by the fall. And Congress could be leaning more towards rules that require websites to have users “opt-in” to being served targeted ads. Since most users tend to go out of their way to avoid advertising, many publishers and advertisers are rightly concerned that this could devastate the business even more than the economy has.

The IAB’s recommended practices also call for educating consumers, clearer disclosure forms, data security, such as spelling out what sort of information is collected on websites, especially ones visited by kids. Lastly, the trade groups, which include the 4A’s, ANA, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and Direct Marketing Association, would set up a review and compliance division to self-govern digital advertising. Under the groups’ plan, the division would be run by The Better Business Bureau and the Direct Marketing Association starting early next year.