Should Behavioral Targeting Be Opt-In?
Advertisers have been asked to implement an Advertising Option Icon near ads where behavioral tracking technology is in use.
The program implements practices of Self Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising that address questions of choice, security, and accountability, as well as the Federal Trade Commission's call for more transparent ad-targeting practices.
A Web site has been set up to provide more information on why the ad gets served up and gives consumers an opportunity to opt out of future targeted ads.
The participating organizations in Monday's announcement include the American Association of National Advertisers, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Better Business Bureau, and others.
Beginning next year, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and Direct Marketing Associate will enforce compliance. The groups plan to promote adoption by businesses through a national education campaign.
Zephrin Lasker, co-founder and CEO of Pontiflex, a digital ad technology provider offering opt-in display advertising, applauds the consortium's move, but says the industry could have moved faster to implement a self-regulatory model with an opt-in approach similar to Pontiflex's.
Pontiflex doesn't "actively monitor and follow people around to try and figure out your interests," he says. The company asks consumers to opt in and willingly give advertisers the information on their interests. The industry argues opt-in doesn't scale, but more than 21 million U.S. consumers this year alone have opted in to advertisers that Pontiflex supports. In fact, according to Lasker, the company has been doubling its rate of consumer adoption.
Pontiflex runs sign-up ads on thank-you pages of ecommerce sites and in banner ads. The opt-in data allows advertisers to send information via email, but the company doesn't follow consumers and collect data from one Web page to another.
Should Web sites have an opt-in button -- and do you think that consumers would really use it? I don't, but the millions of consumers who opted into Pontiflex-supported ads might.