A coalition of advertising groups has launched a new trade organization, the Digital Advertising Alliance, which has issued a new icon to inform consumers about behavioral advertising.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Direct Marketing Association, the Network Advertising Initiative, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the Council of Better Business Bureaus together launched the DAA in late September. The new trade organization has already established a Web site, www.AboutAds.info, which offers information about the industry’s self-regulatory efforts.

In addition, the DAA released a new icon for companies to use to notify consumers of behavioral advertising in lieu of the previous icon created earlier this year. The new icon, called the “Advertising Option Icon,” still uses a lowercase “i” but is now inside a triangle pointing to the right. When a consumer clicks on the icon, an explanation appears about why he or she is seeing a particular ad, along with an opt-out mechanism.

MediaPost reported that the change in icons was a result of speculation that the new icon would be an easier trademark to enforce. The icon is the latest step by the industry to self-regulate, following the 2009 Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. Companies that follow the principles can license the icon to use in their ads for $5,000, renewable annually (although Web publishers with annual revenues of less than $2 million from online behavioral advertising pay no fee). Beginning in 2011, the CBBB and the DMA will monitor and enforce compliance.

For more information about the icon, click here.

Why it matters: Participation is mandatory for members of the DMA, although Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President of Government Relations for the ANA, said he expects widespread participation among other member advertising companies, as well as nonmember companies. “The hope is that if Congress sees that there is widespread adoption of a solution that works for consumers, we will avoid imposition of a more restrictive system that could severely undermine the value of the Net for advertising purposes,” Jaffe told MediaPost. The industry hopes that the principles and the icon will deter the Federal Trade Commission and Congress from passing legislation or creating regulations, although some critics have complained that government enforcement is necessary. “It’s the fox watching the corporate-run hen house,” said Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy Jeff Chester, referencing the self-regulatory principles and the new icon.