IAB Lays Down Guidelines For Targeted Online Advertising

UK’s trade body for advertising, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), has put forth a set of directives on contentious targeted internet ads, which track the users’ behaviour over the web and present them with the most suitable adverts.

Behavioural advertising grabbed the attention in UK last year when BT rolled out trials of the targeted advertising technology from the US-based firm Phorm, which drawn serious criticisms from online privacy advocates and web users.

The body has launched a set of self-regulatory guidelines, dubbed as “good practice principles”, which have been agreed upon by some of the major internet players, including Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo!, and Phorm, and the guidelines have been backed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), UK’s independent privacy watchdog.

Commenting upon the usefulness of new guidelines in safeguarding web users’ privacy online, Nick Stringer, IAB’s chief for regulatory affairs, said in a statement, “They are designed with consumers in mind, providing them with clear commitments on transparency and choice”.

The guidelines revolve around three main principles, including ‘Notice’, which involves informing users about collection of their data online; ‘Consent’, which includes providing powers to the users to opt out from targeted advertising; and ‘Education’, which includes notifying users about the exact use of their information and the knowledge on the process of pull out from behavioural advertising.

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Our Comments

Is it too little too late? BT, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse, via Talktalk, have already announced that they will debut or are considering rolling out advertising and marketing solutions that track the user's behaviour. Phorm for example has offered this capability (and more) and has attracted users' ire.

Related Links

IAB draws up rules after Phorm controversy

(Tech Radar)

New guidelines on behavioural ads

(BBC)

Web advertising guidelines launched

(Press Association)

Internet firms agree UK targeted advertising rules

(Reuters)

Online Advertising Heavyweights Agree To Good Practice Principles

(Web Pro News)

Google, NebuAd, and Others Support IAB U.K. Behavioral Guide

(ClickZ)