IAB Opens D.C. Branch, Hires Lobbyist

Aiming to increase its sway over government, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has opened a Washington, D.C. office and hired its first in-house lobbyist, Mike Zaneis.

In his new role, Zaneis is charged with representing the interactive ad industry in Washington on matters like pending anti-spyware legislation, proposals to tax e-commerce transactions and laws that would require Internet companies to retain data about consumers.

Zaneis, who holds the title vice president of public policy, said the IAB currently is developing a policy about some of those issues. Meantime, he said, he and lobbyists from the Venable law firm have been talking with Congressional staffers on the IAB's behalf.

"We've been educating them on how the Internet works, and what the interactive advertising industry actually is and how it operates," said Zaneis, who previously served as executive director of technology and e-commerce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The appointment of Zaneis comes about two years after the IAB board voted to allocate a new budget that was potentially going to be used to fund industry and public education efforts, as well as lobbying.

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At the time, Congress was considering an anti-spyware bill that appeared to require that marketers or publishers obtain consumers' consent before installing cookies that tracked their behavior across a variety of sites. Many IAB members opposed that bill, on the theory that tracking cookies were vital to online analytics and some ad campaigns.

That bill was reworked so that it wouldn't have required companies to obtain consumers' consent before installing cookies, but ultimately died in the Senate. The act has since been reintroduced.

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