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April 17, 2013

Where Third-Party Cookies Prove Themselves Again – Tornados and Abducted Children

Interest-based advertising online relies on the use of third-party cookies – placed there most often by online advertising networks that serve such ads across the Internet on behalf of many brands, large and small.


Recently, one of our founding trade organization members, Network Advertising Initiative, reported on an initiative of one its members, also a Digital Advertising Alliance participant, ValueClick.


And what ValueClick is doing is extraordinarily creative. And it is another reminder of how much Internet users have come to rely on tailored content and advertising to make the most of their web experience.


DAA is proud that the ad-funded, tailored-user experience we support can bring about such valuable innovation. By offering real-time transparency and on-demand choice at a rate of 1 trillion times per month, we educate and empower consumers of the value of interest-based ads. ValueClick's initiative is one more way that the technology behind interest-based advertising can help web users gain the most from their Internet experience.


ValueClick is applying the power of third-party cookies for two social responsibility initiatives – that of alerting individuals to tornado warnings, and helping to find abducted children through Amber Alerts.


Through an...


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October 1, 2012

Promises You Can’t Keep: The Saga of DNT and IE10

When responsible data use practices are implemented on the internet, a lot of groundwork must happen so that self-regulation mechanisms can afford adequate consumer privacy protection.  There are no silver bullets, shiny objects or checked boxes that “make” consumer privacy real online.  Instead, picks and shovels are put to work, and the work is a continuous effort – and much of it is behind the scenes -- to make it easier for the consumer, yet translatable to the way the internet works.  Let me explain.

First, there must be real, impartial, accountability.  Are you certain there is a designated authority that can ensure that privacy promises made to the consumer can be enforced?

Second, the ecosystem of the internet – the publishers, the content providers, the advertisers, the ad networks, the standard bearers, the users and the policymakers – must be in your corner. Have you engendered buy-in from all parties so everyone acts in concert to honor consumer privacy choices?

Third, your approach to consumer privacy must be consistent and in a way that educates as it empowers consumer choice. Are you creating an informed marketplace?

Fourth, a comprehensive privacy program requires that consumer information be secured. Likewise, you have to have some controls about sensitive data.  Are personal finance, health and children’s data protected? Are there principles and practices in place that elevate use of such personal...

October 1, 2012

Monitoring, Reporting, Resolution & Compliance: Keys to Consumer Privacy Assurance

A necessary component of a comprehensive self-regulation program regarding interest-based ads – or online behavioral advertising (OBA) – is a method for monitoring, reporting, resolving and enforcing proper disclosures of OBA use through use of the Digital Advertising Alliance’s AdChoices icon. The icon links to a brand’s explanation of its use of interest-based advertising, and how an internet user can enact an informed choice regarding OBA’s use in regard to his or her own browsing behavior.

In the United States, one of two methods for such accountability is through the Council of Better Business Bureaus and its dedicated Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program (the other being a complaint resolution program of the Direct Marketing Association).

Today, Advertising Age reported on one of its most recent compliance actions.

In total, there were five new compliance actions on October 1, bringing the total number to date to 18 since the program's inception.  Through these actions, all companies – including their agencies, media buyers, ad servers and ad networks – have cooperated and come into voluntary compliance. Industry’s support of the DAA Principles is strong and vibrant.  Public, impartial, transparent decision-making and enforcement ensures that the entire industry understands and...

September 25, 2012

Digital Advertising Alliance Seeks to Protect Consumer Choice and a Diversified Internet

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,...

September 19, 2012

Empowering the Consumer in the Online Data Conversation

In a recent Adweek contribution [Subscription Required] (September 10), a representative from Microsoft explained why the company decided to turn on a “Do Not Track” (DNT) feature in its latest version of Internet Explorer browser, Version 10, which arrives this fall.  Microsoft is making a huge mistake – and setting a dangerous precedent – that seems to say “information” has no role to play in our “information economy.”

Let’s make this perfectly clear:  DNT accelerates and fans the flames of fear and confusion in the advertising community and with consumers. It may be a good sound bite, but it is a poor policy for the long-term health of the ad-supported internet and relevant advertising. Generic advertising here we come!   

Critics of interest-based ads state that, at least in the past, consumers had been in the dark about how online advertisers use data. The trouble is that Microsoft’s DNT decision (or, for that matter, any browser’s similar implementation) doesn’t correct the situation. It exacerbates it.

Why not educate consumers about interest-based ads, and give them their own choice to opt-out, or opt-down?  That’s what we do on the Digital Advertising Alliance site, YourAdChoices.com, and millions of consumers have visited this free...


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