The Interactive Advertising Bureau, in conjunction with trade group Network Advertising Initiative, is trying a new tactic as possible government regulation of behavioral ad targeting looms.
In a call for increased public education and transparency, the IAB and NAI now advocate informing consumers up front exactly why they are seeing particular Web ads.
More specifically, the two groups suggest that publishers and ad networks run notices alongside banners in the form of text links that enable users to access more information on where those ads came from. Such links would even let them opt out of receiving similar behavior-based ads in the future. The initiative is called CLEAR Ad Notice, which stands for "Control Links for Education and Advertising Responsibly."
To facilitate this effort, the IAB and NAI have released a set of technical standards that would enable advertisers, networks and publishers to serve up a common clickable icon within or near online ads. Advertisers or publishers can opt to have that icon drive users to separate Web pages or to interstitials providing detailed explanations of why given ads have been served.
The hope is that this sort of icon will soon become commonplace in the online media landscape -- dramatically increasing transparency and expanding consumer awareness about how online advertising works.
The concept of a universal explanatory icon was first born out the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, a document released last summer by a coalition of the marketing world’s top trade groups. Those included the IAB, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, Direct Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Council for Better Business Bureaus.
All of these groups have a common interest: to get out in front of any potential regulation by the federal government.
See also: "Groups Decry Web 'Privacy' Threats'"