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Agencies To Self-Regulate Online Behavioral Ads

Guidelines promise to govern the use of sensitive personal data.

Four marketing and advertising industry associations will draft enhanced guidelines to govern online behavioral advertising.

The groups said Tuesday that they plan to work together to come up with practices that address privacy concerns and promote consumer trust and confidence regarding the collection and use of online data. The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) plan to work with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB), on the plans for self-regulation.

"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," Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA, said in a statement. "Strong and comprehensive self-regulation strikes a balance that both protects the public interest and allows marketers to provide relevant advertising, which is particularly critical during this period of economic downturn."

The Federal Trade Commission proposed several areas for self-regulation in December 2007. They include: education, transparency, consumer notification and choice, data security, and enforcement.

"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," Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB, said in a statement. "The value of online advertising to consumers and businesses cannot be understated, particularly in these challenging economic times. We want to be certain that we demonstrate the value exchange to the public that comes from online advertising."

The advertising and marketing groups, which represent thousands of companies, said that they plan to engage the FTC, policy makers, businesses, consumers, and other stakeholders in the discussion.

"Advertising agencies are leaders in the innovation that is fueling the Internet economy," Nancy Hill, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, said in a statement. "The result has been tremendous benefits for all consumers."

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