IAB launches UK targeted web ad rules

05 March 2009

LONDON The Internet Advertising Bureau has launched a set of "good practice principles" governing online behavioural advertising in the UK, with major operators including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all backing the new self-regulatory regime.

As argued in an article discussing online behavioural ads in Admap magazine, Europeans generally have more stringent expectations regarding their online privacy than their American counterparts.

The rules established by the IAB require that companies tracking online activity for targeted ads systems "must clearly inform a consumer that data is being collected and used for this purpose."

Web users must also be able to opt-out of these schemes, and companies must seek consumers' consent to run these programmes "where data protection law or specific regulatory guidance applies."

They should also provide "clear and simple information" about how data is being used, and the IAB has created a website, youronlinechoices.co.uk, to inform consumers about online privacy.

The IAB says targeted ads make up 20% of the online display market in the UK, contributing revenues of around £200m ($283m; €225m) a year.

Phorm, which has been involved in running controversial targeted ad schemes with telecoms company BT, is also signed up to the scheme.

However, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said the principles were "pretty lax", and constituted a "bare minimum" rather than trying to "push standards up".

Data sourced from IAB/Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff