America's Marketing Elite Unite to Hone Online Privacy Rules

19 January 2009

NEW YORK: The four major US marketing bodies (the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau) have united to develop self-regulatory rules for online behavioral advertising.

Also supporting the initiative is the Council of Better Business Bureaus, an entity dedicated to advancing marketplace trust. 

The five bodies' objectives are to address privacy concerns and to increase consumers' trust and confidence in how online information is gathered and used. To this end they will work with the Federal Trade Commission as it continues to review its privacy principles.

Meantime, the organizations' respective leaders – all wearing the dual hats of president/ceo – took the opportunity to rah-tah it for their members.

Hyped Nancy Hill of the AAAA: "Advertising agencies are leaders in the innovation that is fueling the Internet economy. The result has been tremendous benefits for all consumers."

While  her opposite number at the ANA Bob Liodice harmonized: "Behavioral marketing provides enormous benefits to consumers, but it is our responsibility as marketers to ensure the web-surfing public's privacy interests remain protected.

Not to be outdone, other members of the alliance trilled along similar lines …

"It is essential that we have consistent standards that reinforce consumer relevance and business responsibility," trilled the DMA's John Greco, while the BBB's Steve Cole went contrapuntal: "The BBB has always advocated responsible business practices backed by effective self-regulation."

Completing the roundelay, Randall Rothenberg of the IAB trilled: "Effective self-regulation of interactive advertising will help ensure that our industry can continue to evolve and innovate, offering consumers what they want when they want it. The value of online advertising to consumers and businesses cannot be understated, particularly in these challenging economic times."

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by WARC staff