Data Networks Open Up

Rival data networks are joining together to disclose to consumers their collection practices, part of an effort to head off tougher government regulation.
Better Advertising has signed up more than a half-dozen companies, including data exchanges BlueKai and eXelate, to use its technology to disclose to consumers when they collect data—and when collected data is used in an ad impression. The companies will begin to implement the disclosure, which takes place on the Web page users are visiting, at the start of the new year. Consumers can edit their information or opt out of the anonymous data collection.
The move comes on the heels of a Federal Trade Commission report that ratcheted up pressure on the industry. The FTC is proposing a “Do Not Track” registry, similar to the Do Not Call list, which would allow consumers to opt out of ad targeting across the board.
The FTC has said the industry’s attempts at self-regulation, which includes an initiative to disclose behaviorally targeted ads, have been insufficient.
Scott Meyer, CEO of Better Advertising, said it is not too late for self-regulation to work.
“Everyone is talking conceptually right now,” he said of a Do Not Track registry. “The industry has to self-regulate in order to manage this.”
The companies participating in The Open Data Partnership include 33Across, Lotame, Turn, Demdex, Bizo and SafeCount.