On October 4, 2010, leading marketing and advertising trade associations launched a robust self-regulatory program for online behavioral advertising. This program builds upon the Self- Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (“Principles”) to help implement consumer-friendly standards for online behavioral advertising (“OBA”) practices. The program will give consumers enhanced control over the collection and use of data regarding their Web viewing for OBA.

Click here to view the diagram.

OBA is defined as the practice of collecting “data from a particular computer or device regarding Web viewing behaviors over time and across non-Affiliate Web sites for the purpose of using such data to predict user preferences or interests to deliver advertising to that computer or device based on the preferences or interests inferred from such Web viewing behaviors.”1 The purpose of OBA is to deliver relevant advertising to specific computers or devices in ways that enrich the consumer online experience.

The industry-wide effort to develop and implement standards for OBA activities across the Internet was led by a coalition of trade associations, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and supported by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. This unprecedented collaboration responds to the Federal Trade Commission’s call to the advertising and media industry to develop selfregulatory principles and practices for OBA.

The program promotes the use of the “Advertising Option Icon” and accompanying language (depicted left), to be displayed within or near online advertisements or on Web pages where data is collected and used for behavioral advertising. The Advertising Option Icon indicates a company’s use of OBA and adherence to the Principles guiding the program. By clicking on the icon, consumers will be able to link to a clear disclosure statement regarding the company's online behavioral advertising data collection and use practices as well as an easy-to-use optout option.

Companies interested in participating in the program can visit www.aboutads.info to register to use the Advertising Option Icon, request to participate in the in the easy-to-use consumer opt-out mechanism, and obtain information about joining the Principles & Communications Advisory Committee. The Committee will develop educational efforts around the program and new Principles.