US DMA joins with ad bodies to cool behavioural targeting backlash

CHICAGO - The US Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has joined forces with America's leading ad and marketing associations to stave off legislation that would curb behavioural targeted advertising.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have joined with the DMA to develop strict self-regulatory guidelines for online behavioural ad practitioners.

The purpose of the guidelines will be to protect the burgeoning behavioural targeting sector against a growing public backlash in the US.

The reputation of online behavioural targeting - the process of serving ads to users based on their search and web-surfing behaviour - took a battering in the US throughout 2008.

US Congress held hearings where the business practices of behavioural ad firms were tried for breaches of user privacy, while privacy advocates have heaped opprobrium on the sector. 

"Behavioural marketing provides enormous benefits to consumers, but it is our responsibility as marketers to ensure [...] privacy interests remain protected," said the president/CEO of the ANA, Bob Liodice. "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."



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