Privacy Icon Changes, New Self-Regulation Program Formally Starts Says Better Advertising CEO Scott Meyer

Better AdvertisingThe Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) announced today that it has approved “Better Advertising’s Assurance Platform as an Approved Technology and a standard method for providing evidence of participating companies’ compliance with the cross-industry self-regulatory program for online behavioral advertising.” Read the release. And, read about the self-regulation principles on the DAA site.

CEO Scott Meyer of Better Advertising discussed the news and its details.

First, let’s understand some of the groups involved… What is the DAA and how does it relate to Better Advertising? Is the DAA different than the National Advertising Review Council?

SM: The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) is the legal entity born of the joint project of the 4A’s, AAF, ANA, DMA and IAB that came together to publish the Self-Regulatory Principles last year and today announced the official launch of the Self-Regulatory Program. The DAA is the owner of the Advertising Option Icon (formerly known as the Power I and then briefly the Forward I) and will be licensing the icon to participating companies to use in their ads on websites involved with Online Behavioral (or Interest-Based) advertising.

The National Advertising Review Council is a part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB). They have been around for nearly 40 years running successful self-regulatory programs in media and advertising, and – notably – keeping the advertising industry from being federally regulated. People who don’t think that our industry can self-regulate should study their history, since NARC had to face a similar situation with calls for what we now call traditional advertising to be regulated back in the early 1970s. Clearly, that never happened, thanks to NARC, so their participation is key here. The BBB and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) will be running monitoring and reporting programs to enforce compliance with the Program.

Companies can join the program by going to the new DAA website at This site has information for consumers and for participating companies.

What was the outcome of the RFP process -in other words, what are the services Better Advertising offers?

In December of 2009, the Coalition that became the DAA put out an RFP for technology providers to support the Program. We won that competition over five other companies, including TRUSTe, Datran’s Preference Central and DoubleVerify. We are working on the details of our contract with the CBBB and DMA to be their provider of monitoring and reporting technology.

A key to our proposal was the concept of creating Approved Providers to help companies with providing evidence of compliance with the principles. We call this our Assurance Platform. It gained the backing of units of every major ad agency holding company, leading ad networks and top brands. We just announced today that Better Advertising’s Assurance Platform is the DAA’s first and currently only Approved Provider for compliance services.

Our Assurance Platform has been endorsed as a standard method for companies to provide evidence of compliance with the Principles. In short, that means that we have all the necessary legal clearances from the DAA and a production-ready, fully deployed technology platform to ensure a company’s icons are deployed accurately, and provide the reporting they need.

Please discuss the roll-out of the Better Advertising DAA-approved solution. Can you provide a sense of scale today and where you see it going in the next year?

We launched it in July and are now providing consumers notice and choice in several billion ad impressions each month for leading brands such AT&T and others. We expect to be powering the Icon experience in behavioral ads and on publisher sites where data is collected for OBA widely across the internet. The official announcement of the Program today will really accelerate this rollout.

How does your solution differentiate from other announced, competitive solutions in the marketplace such as TrustE’s?

Most importantly, we are the first and currently only Approved Provider of this service from the DAA. That is a complex process. In our case, it took almost a year. Until a company is approved by the DAA, they can’t use the DAA’s icon in their service. With respect to other solutions, I can’t really say. We haven’t seen any other in-ad notice solutions in production.

We think it’s great that competitors are legitimizing the concept of providing compliance services to online advertising ecosystem. And we’re curious to see if other companies like ours are born specifically to address these issues, since the companies we beat in the RFP process all have competing interests within the industry.

So, which icon is the “icon” that will be used? There has been a circle
, but now it’s a triangle?

The icon bound by a triangle in today’s DAA release is the correct icon
today and moving forward.

By John Ebbert

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  1. Insightful piece; Scott brings up very good points re the history of regulation in the ad industry.

    Two significant areas of disagreement however:

    1) anyone can license & use the DAA icon by paying a small fee

    2) TRUSTe expects to get approved status from the DAA *very* shortly; it will not be anywhere near a year.