It's not easy to get multiple large trade orgainzations on the same page, and to speak with the same voice, but that's exactly what the major US trade orgs are doing in the face of potential federal regulations governing behavioral advertising practices.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As),  the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have banded together (along with the Better Business Bureau) "to develop a cohesive and far-reaching self-regulatory effort for interactive advertising."

ad orgs logos

The move really is unprecedented - it's the first time the entire marketing and media industry has come together with unity of purpose.

That purpose is to form a self-regulatory body to protect the interests of both the consumers and businesses involved in interactive advertising in general, and behavioral advertising in particular, a goal set by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC issued guidelines for industry self-regulation in late 2007 that include education and transparency, consumer notification and choice, data security, and self-regulatory enforcement.

And boy, do the collective members of these powerful organizations form a multitude. In aggregate, virtually every single legitimate marketers, advertiser, agency, online publisher, media company, ad networks, and most of the major technology vendors in interactive -- as well as traditional advertising.

If everyone's on their best behavior - never easy, when so many constituencies are represented - this initaitive could represent a very positive shift in the ability of the industry to work together. Effectively, and for the greater good.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 12 February, 2009 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

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