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Online Advertising Regulation – Pulling Together?

October 1, 2009

I’m not sure if anyone has really noticed, but recently a fairly important document was published over in the good ‘ol US of A. The document, imaginatively titled “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising” is, I believe, the last ditch attempt by the industry to avoid the hard line of US government regulation on the online advertising industry.

This document was compiled by a major trade group made up of execs from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others. The objective would appear to be to appease Washington and consumer groups who believe we are being tracked too closely online.

Having read through the fairly lightweight 55 page document I have to say its fairly open to interpretation. The proposed self-regulation seems to focus on data collection between the numerous online ad networks. But though this would be a move in a positive direction, it is implying the ad networks will agree to work together.

In practice however, this is a seismic shift away from the real world. Both Google and Facebook jealously guard their (or our) data. For this to be adopted and for the ad networks to avoid Washington’s red tape there will be some very interesting developments in online advertising in the next few years.

Personally I feel if this self-regulation is adopted, including a stringent set of opt-out policies, it’s going to be a step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen how big these steps will be.

You can read the document here (warning pdf), and if you’re in online advertising it might be a good idea.

From → PR Activity, Web Tech

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