By Lou Mastria
With all the current attention on Do-Not-Track and Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, it’s important to also emphasize what proactive initiatives are underway at Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to keep consumers’ online experiences relevant, diversified and focused on empowerment.
This Fall is a critical time for DAA, as there are several areas where we’re seeking to protect the rights of consumers and brand advertisers to connect and engage, while providing online publishers with advertising revenue that serves to finance their businesses and enable editorial content for the digital public.
Let’s catalog some of these initiatives at DAA.
First is transparency: the importance of consumer education – explaining why interest-based advertisements exist, and how they are served – is our highest priority. This past week, the YourAdChoices.com site recorded and surpassed its 11 millionth unique visit. Additionally, the Direct Marketing Association and the Council of Better Business Bureau (CBBB) are charged with consumer complaint resolution and enforcement, and the CBBB has executed investigations and resolved 12 consumer complaints alone.
Increasingly, Web experiences are mobile experiences. The screen may be a personal computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. Interest-based advertising may appear on any internet-viewing device, even as technology platforms may change. Therefore, it is critical that as the world goes mobile, so does the ability for brands and consumers to connect there in a trusted environment – and the DAA principles are being reviewed actively for how they might manifest themselves in the mobile world. This has demonstrated itself in our work with the mobile community (associations, carriers, device manufacturers, advertisers, app developers, policymakers and advocates) to make sure self- and peer-regulation is as successful in mobile environments, as it has proven to be in more “traditional” internet experiences on desktops. While challenges exist in porting the AdChoices initiative to this space, it is important to note that we are fully engaged in cataloging and surmounting these challenges. Simply stated, we believe that this is a matter of ‘how’ not ‘whether’ the DAA principles will be supported in the mobile ecosystem.
DAA formed two years ago with an admittedly initial U.S. focus. But Fair Information Principles and Practices (FIPP) provide for a global framework for privacy protection and consumer choice (among other tenets) that truly are international in scope. While privacy regulation may vary nation to nation, and region to region, and cultures may be distinct, it’s vital that interest-based advertising exists in a manner that can be self- and peer-regulated effectively -- with responsible, ethical behaviors ensured, secured and enforced – no matter where in the world it takes place. Thus, DAA is working with other organizations representing non-U.S. jurisdictions to achieve such outcomes. Already, agreements are in the European Union and new programs are being developed in Canada and other regions of the world to help ensure interest-based ads may continue to deliver valuable consumer experiences there, with the same kind of privacy protections we see in the United States. We continue to finds ways to dialogue and overcome hurdles as they are identified.
As you can see, we continue to be engaged on these and multiple other fronts to ensure that the approach built into the DAA principles continues to give consumers meaningful education, transparency, choice and accountability that builds trust and engagement between brands and their customers. We believe these outcomes are vital for a diverse and open internet.