The Interactive Advertising Bureau is expected to roll out the next phase of its self-regulatory privacy initiative on Monday, when it will launch a program to certify that online companies are in compliance with self-regulatory guidelines, Online Media Daily has learned.
The IAB, along with the other trade groups participating in the self-regulatory initiative, also is expected to announce that the National Advertising Review Council has tapped the start-up Better Advertising to help monitor compliance with privacy principles. Those principles -- which grew out of a task force of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus -- generally require companies to notify consumers about targeting, and in many cases, allow them to opt out; in some situations, the principles call for opt-in consent.
In addition, the "power i" icon, consisting of a lowercase 'i' inside an open circle -- which was supposed to indicate when online ads were being served based on users' Web activity -- appears likely to get a makeover. Industry insiders say that some ad organizations were concerned that the symbol was too similar to other logos to be licensed. The slightly renovated version is likely to consist of an 'i' inside a triangle pointing toward the right, like a 'play' button.
The icon, initially developed by the think tank Future of Privacy Forum and WPP units Group M, Kantar Group and Ogilvy, is part of the online ad industry's attempt to curb the threat of privacy legislation by showing that online companies can effectively notify people about ad targeting and allow them to opt out. People who click on the icons can learn more about ad targeting as well as how to opt out of receiving ads based on their Web activity.
Web companies were expected to start using the icon earlier this year, but the initiative stalled after concerns were raised about whether courts would back the trade groups' ability to use the symbol. The current plan calls for the four trade associations to allow Web companies that are in compliance with self-regulatory principles to license the icon and place it on their Web ads.
For at least 10 years, many companies have used privacy policies to notify people about tracking and behavioral targeting, but those policies are often criticized as being too lengthy and dense to be effective. The Federal Trade Commission said last year that it supports industry self-regulation for now, but that companies need to improve their efforts to inform consumers about online tracking and how to opt out.
The icon created by the Future of Privacy Forum and WPP isn't the only logo that's being used to indicate online behavioral advertising is occurring. Truste also is testing its own separate icon.