4A’s, IAB Issue First Web Rules

LOS ANGELES–A long process ended in a good start last week, as the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Internet Advertising Bureau issued the first Terms and Conditions for Internet advertising.

But the T&C’s architects cautioned that much more work remains.

The guidelines for negotiating online media buys “cover the waterfront,” said Mike Donahue, evp/member services of the 4A’s. This includes establishing policies for some basic issues before the two sides, such as cancellation policies, site-redesign notification, insertion orders, makegoods and other topics.

As expected, the agency group’s key need–that Web sites adhere to its sequential liability policy for unpaid bills–is part of the agreement [Adweek, Feb. 26].

Next up for the two groups is the topic of third-party ad servers. Discrepancies between impression-measurement figures from the Web sites and those from ad servers such as DoubleClick sometimes reach more than 50 percent.

Robin Webster, IAB CEO, said, “The IAB has committed to a study that’s going to be fielded by PricewaterhouseCoopers that is basically a massive audit of third-party ad measurement.” Once that study is done, the IAB and the 4A’s will work on another T&C document on third-party ad servers and standardized measurements.

“This is ‘version 1,’ dealing with issues that are 2 to 5 years old,” said Dave Smith, president and media director of San Francisco-based interactive shop Mediasmith, who worked with the 4A’s on the just-released T&C document. “Now that we’ve got the basics done, we [will go to] ‘version 2’ and tackle a number of issues that haven’t been dealt with yet, such as proof of performance and acceptance by the sites of third-party ad-serving numbers.”