Etsy, the craft website that advocated strongly for the open Internet Order, wasn’t very open about letting users know that third parties were tracking them on its web site for interest-based advertising. Twit.TV, 247 Sports, and Imgur were also taken to task by the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program, administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
As a result of the action, the web sites agreed to come into compliance with Digital Advertising Alliance’s guidelines requiring a footer or other notice on every page where third parties are collecting data for interest-based ads. That link also has to lead to an explanation of interest-based advertising and a link to an opt-out mechanism.
Enforcement is a key part of the DAA’s self-regulatory program to demonstrate to regulators that additional legislation or regulation isn’t needed to protect consumer privacy from interest-based advertising and 3rd party tracking.
Since the self-regulatory program went into effect in 2011, it has brought 58 enforcement actions. Advertisers, ad networks or publishers that don’t agree to come into compliance with the guidelines may be referred to the Federal Trade Commission. One case has been was referred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Beginning September 1, the digital advertising business will begin self-policing its mobile privacy guidelines.
“We are pleased today to see these four popular websites willingly take responsibility for providing enhanced notice to their visitors,” said Genie Barton, director of the accountability program. “Our continued focus on this topic, stating and re-stating the rules in a clear and compelling way, is a driving force behind publishers’ growing understanding and compliance.”
In addition to the actions taken last week, the program also closed a number of cases with unnamed parties because the companies were sold and no longer did interest-based advertising, or the issue wasn’t covered by the DAA’s guidelines.
The DAA’s guidelines require all advertisers and publishers give consumers real-time notice and choice for interest-based advertising through a small, blue triangle icon that consumers can click-on to top-out of tracking. More than a trillion of the AdChoices icons are served each month worldwide.
The DAA is a consortium of seven advertising and marketing groups including the Association of the National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.