LOU MASTRIA: We released our mobile advertising guidelines in July and what’s ahead of us now is putting those guidelines into action. We’ll be empowering the accountability programs to start enforcing against those guidelines. Also, by mid-2014, we hope to have a mobile choice tool or icon that will allow consumers to express their choice [on whether or not they receive targeted mobile ads].
How will the tool be applied to mobile apps and Web browsers?
What we’re aiming to do over the next couple of months is put out an implementation guide that explains how to serve the icon inside mobile apps and the mobile Web in a way that is standardized and comports with our need to have transparency and control available to consumers. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is leading the charge in a working group that we’ve organized to develop the guide.
We’ll be doing something similar for video as well since we’ve heard from a number of video folks who said they’d like to have standards on how the icon is used and displayed in video. The IAB will lead the charge in that too, and hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have standard guidelines around video as well.
What are you expecting in terms of adoption rates? Will the tool be released to a small group first?
There’s only a handful of companies that are really ahead of the curve in terms of adopting mobile strategies so not all of our members will be ready to adopt the mobile choice ad tool right away. You’ll probably see a quick ramp up of a handful of companies that will happen on a larger scale six to 12 months later.
How will the mobile ad choices icon affect companies that offer cross-device recognition and fingerprinting solutions?
Device recognition was actually — excuse the pun — recognized by the DAA almost two years ago and it’s still an emerging practice. When we first recognized device recognition, we said the principles of consumer control and transparency still apply.
It doesn’t matter if the technology is not a cookie. Our principles have always been technology neutral. If data is collected from sites, that is the kind of data that lends itself to our principles and users should be able to opt out of.
The other piece that’ll be important for us this year is doing more research explaining how interest-based advertising works and how it funds the Internet. We’re trying to show that the ad ecosystem is a robust ecosystem that’s complicated, but capable of funding the Internet to deliver information to all parts of the world. So expect to see more research around that area in the next few months.
How does the DAA enforce its principles?
We have two enforcement partners: the Better Business Bureau and the DMA’s ethics committee. To date, we’ve had about 36 enforcement actions and all have led to voluntary compliance. We’re not the gotcha police but we’re here to get companies in compliance with data use practices that have been widely lauded both in the US and other parts of the world. We do reserve the right, if a company refuses to comply, to refer to the FTC, but we’ve never had to do that.