BBB: Kia Retargeting Campaign Lacked Privacy Icons

The car company Kia Motors America ran a retargeting campaign without including the privacy icons that are supposed to inform consumers about online behavioral advertising, the Better Business Bureau's Advertising Self-Regulatory Council said on Monday.

The BBB said the retargeting campaign was run by Initiative, which tapped the ad networks Rocket Fuel and Specific Media for data collection.

In a batch of decisions made public on Monday, the self-regulatory group said it determined Kia was running a retargeting campaign by visiting the site, where testers observed outside companies collecting data through tracking pixels.

The testers then visited other sites, where they were served Kia ads -- none of which included the Digital Advertising Alliance's "AdChoices" icon, which offers links to sites where users can learn about behavioral advertising and opt out of receiving targeted ads.



After hearing from the BBB, Kia said it sent an email to Initiative in order to "correct any 'miscommunication or misunderstanding'" about the campaign. Initiative is now working with Kia to make sure that future campaigns comply with the self-regulatory principles, according to the BBB.

Initiative referred all questions about the campaign to Kia.

Kia said in a statement that it supports the self-regulatory principles and expects any third-party ad networks it works with to serve the ad icon. The company also says it intends to serve the icon on ads in the future.

Specific Media said it only disables the icon if ad agencies, or marketers, promise to display the icon themselves, according to the BBB.

Rocket Fuel said that it typically puts an icon on behaviorally targeted ads, but was asked not to do so for this Kia campaign, according to the BBB. The ad network says it will no longer honor requests to disable the AdChoices icon. "If a client continues to push for disabling of the AdChoices Icon, Rocket Fuel has stated that it will turn down that client’s business," the ad network said, according to the BBB's opinion.

The BBB added that Microsoft's Atlas provided the ad-serving technology, but didn't have to serve icons because it didn't collect or supply data for behavioral targeting purposes.



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