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BBB Releases First Behavioral Ad Self-Reg Responses

The Better Business Bureau has announced the first six compliance agreements with online marketers under its Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program behavioral advertising self-regulatory regime, most dealing with the duration of their opt-out options.

According to the BBB, each company has voluntarily modified its policies to comply with the principles. BBB started testing the opt-out mechanisms of advertisers across five different browsers, resulting inquiries and agreements from marketers FMX, Martini Media, PredictAd, QuinStreet, Reedge, and Veruta.

FMX's opt-out option had a six-month expiration date, which the company agreed to change to five years, as the principles state. Same for Martini Media. PredictAd's one-month expiration from the date of the opt out request was also upgraded to the industry standard. QuinStreet's opt out policy was confusing, while Veruta's was insufficiently accessible due to a missing link.

BBB said it would send out periodic updates on its findings.

"The Accountability Program is charged with providing objective, independent, and vigorous oversight and enforcement of the Principles," said Genie Barton, CBBB VP and director of the Accountability Program, in a statement. "Our goal is to promote compliance with the Principles by all companies within the advertising ecosystem.  We are encouraged that each of the companies under review has participated in the self-regulatory process and quickly brought their practices into compliance. Successful self-regulation depends on participation, cooperation, and prompt compliance. Where companies do not self-monitor and promptly correct problems, they can expect the Accountability Program to take action."

Online marketers are trying to head off legislative fixes like mandatory opt-in regimes through stepp-up self regulation and enforcement.