BBB Privacy Unit Faults Etsy, Three Other Publishers

The Web companies Etsy, Imgur,, and 247 Sports have agreed to revise their sites in order to comply with the industry's self-regulatory privacy code, a unit of the Better Business Bureau said on Thursday.

The companies all promised to offer “enhanced” notice on all pages where ad networks or other third parties collect data in order to serve ads to people based on their behavior across the Web.

Providing that type of “enhanced” notice involves displaying a separate link that takes visitors directly to a site where they can opt out of receiving behaviorally targeted ads. That link is supposed to appear underneath text like “Interest-based ads,” “About our ads,” “AdChoices,” or “Why did I get this ad?”

Like many Web site operators, the companies named by the BBB on Thursday offered online privacy policies, and allowed people to opt out of receiving behaviorally targeted ads, but did not have separate links devoted to behavioral advertising.

The BBB's Online Accountability Unit said in a 2013 compliance warning that companies must offer “clear, meaningful and prominent” links on all pages where ad networks and other third parties collect data about visitors in order to serve them with targeted ads.

That requirement applies when data is used in all forms of online behavioral advertising, including retargeting (showing people ads for the same products they viewed at a retailer's site).

The BBB's online privacy watchdog began enforcing that requirement last year. In October, the organization named five Web publishers -- Answers Corporation, Best Buy, BuzzFeed,, and Yelp -- that didn't include enhanced notice on their sites.

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