BBB Warns Publishers To Comply With Privacy Rules

A “significant minority” of publishers don't follow self-regulatory rule requiring enhanced notice about data collection, an enforcement unit of the Better Business Bureau said today.

The BBB's Accountability Program made the statement as part of a compliance warning. The warning is meant to inform publishers that the industry's self-regulatory program requires them to provide “enhanced” notice -- in the form of a separate link -- on every page where ad networks or other third parties collect information for online behavioral advertising purposes. That link must be underneath text like “Interest-based ads,” “About our ads,”  “AdChoices,” or “Why did I get this ad,” and also must lead to a site where people can opt out of online behavioral advertising.

Genie Barton, vice president and director of the BBB's Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program, tells MediaPost that some publishers mistakenly believed that they were in compliance as long as they displayed privacy policies.

Privacy policies often notify people about behavioral targeting and contains opt-out links, but users often have to scroll through the entire document to find information about interest-based ads. By contrast, the “enhanced notice” links take people to sites devoted to information about online targeting.

Barton says that her unit recently reviewed 75 publishers' sites, and found that seven lacked the “enhanced” links, but otherwise complied with the self-regulatory programs. Barton's office closed those cases and is not naming the publishers. The BBB intends to start enforcing the enhanced-notice requirement for publishers next year.

2 comments about "BBB Warns Publishers To Comply With Privacy Rules".
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  1. Kelly Davis from Kelen Marketing Services, October 14, 2013 at 9:34 p.m.

    This not a new issue but this makes it difficult for industry professionals to recommend sites or software, it puts us on the line of responsibility if the client clicks on the wrong icon or link! Many sites that offer free games or software usually have the packet wrapped with an infection attached! So yes some policing is warranted here! This now leads us to another issue will the net remain free if we put rules on these sites?

  2. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, October 15, 2013 at 6:42 a.m.

    I don't remember *ever* seeing one of these enhanced notice links, so I doubt it's just a minority of sites that omit them. Does anyone have the URL of a commercial site that has quite a lot of ads and does what BBB wants, so I can see an example?

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