Not long ago I discovered why my Chairman always smiled broadly when I recounted the latest twists and turns of our work on online behavioural advertising. Alas it was nothing to do with my efforts in self-regulation but his love of dancing! Oba Oba is the call to the dance floor as all aficionados of the Samba will know! Even though there were no “whisks” or “copas” our line up was pretty sparkling at the 16 December Roundtable.
Seriously, this was the media and advertising industry’s first public chance to showcase our package of self-regulation for online behavioural advertising to the European Commission, consumer and privacy groups as well as to many companies from all overEurope. After 18 months of collaboration between portals and publishers, broadcasters, advertisers, agencies, direct marketers, ISPs, mobile operators, search engines, third-party ad networks and more, together with the advertising self-regulatory organisations across the EU, we pulled together a Best Practice recommendation for the self-regulation of online behavioural advertising.
Designed to provide a comprehensive industry-wide standard, rooted within the established advertising self-regulatory structure of accountability, compliance and consumer redress, the package provides consumers with
- Easy to understand and easy to use consumer tools to increase transparency dramatically and exercise choice including an EU-wide rollout of an icon to label oba and a centralised website available in all EU languages
- Incentives and sanctions to drive compliance
- One stop shop for consumer feedback and complaints handling &
- Robust and effective self-regulatory enforcement mechanisms and sanctions.
And our offer went down rather well. We received some clear political support from the Commission for our approach and we left with some positive and achievable goals to pursue over the next 3 months to improve our package.
The Roundtable will re-convene in March and meanwhile we are deeply committed to working with consumers to make significant improvements to the information on the industry’s website and improve the clarity of the language about how and why data is collected for the purposes of providing consumers with interest-based advertising. We’re also keen to get feedback on the icon itself and especially what message should sit alongside the icon as a link to the consumer controls. If you are interested, watch out early next year for when the European Advertising Standards Alliance website will go live with a feedback page.
Angela Mills Wade
Executive Director at European Publishers Council