Europe’s Online Advertising Industry Releases Self-Regulation Framework

  • Europe’s Online Advertising Industry Agrees on Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) Guidelines
  • OBA Framework ensures Enhanced Transparency and Control for Consumers
  • Launch of pan-European consumer website for individual privacy preferences management :www.youronlinechoices.eu

Brussels, 14 April 2011: IAB Europe today released its cross-European self-regulatory Framework for Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA). The Framework, outlining good practice aimed at enhancing transparency and consumer control, has been signed by the online industry’s leading businesses*.

The obligations under the Framework seek to enhance transparency when advertisements are delivered using Third Party OBA (i.e. advertising on websites by other than the web site itself). Consumers will be provided with greater control through a number of new mechanisms: once the companies fully implement their obligations (the latest by June 2012), all OBA based display advertisements will contain an icon that signifies to consumers that OBA is used. When the icon is clicked on, the consumer will be directed to a company site with further information and the possibility to turn off OBA advertisements as well as to the new pan-European website,www.youronlinechoices.eu, that provides further information on OBA in the relevant language as well as a tool to manage data preferences, including turning off OBA with just a few clicks. The major practical achievement of this Framework is that it provides full transparency and control to users without limiting their surfing experience.

The OBA Framework principles provide for:

  • Education for consumers and businesses about OBA in general and the OBA Framework;
  • Transparency about data collection and use practices associated with OBA, providing consumers with clear, meaningful and prominent notice through multiple mechanisms;
  • Consumer control over OBA;
  • Appropriate data security for, and limited retention of, data collected and used for OBA purposes;
  • Limitations on the creation of segments to specifically target children;
  • Limitations on the collection of Sensitive Personal Data collected and used for OBA;
  • Compliance and Enforcement mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of the OBA Framework, including seal that will be granted to compliant companies, signifies to other businesses that the seal holder adheres to the obligations under the OBA Framework has been checked and was deemed compliant. 

A copy of the Framework – plus FAQs – is available at:www.iabeurope.eu

“Online advertising techniques require the trust of consumers. The OBA Framework will introduce cross-industry self-regulation for behavioural advertising across Europe, backed up by a compliant and enforcement mechanism. This initiative is the culmination of 18 months planning and collaboration with European organisations representing advertisers, agencies, publishers and advertising standards.” said Alain Heureux, President IAB Europe.

As the obligations are only binding to signatory companies, IAB Europe’s OBA Framework will be complemented by the European Advertising Standards Alliance’s (EASA) Best Practice Recommendations, released today. These recommendations complement the OBA Framework by ensuring that the entire advertising ecosystem adheres to rules that together guarantee that the value chain delivers the objective of enhanced control and consumer choice. 

“The agreed measures focus on providing consumers with meaningful control over their information, while providing them with easy to understand information to exercise control in an informed way,” comments Stephan Noller, Chairman Policy Committee IAB Europe and CEO nugg.ad.

Nick Stringer, Vice-Chairman Policy Committee IAB Europe and Director of Regulatory Affairs at IAB UK, added: “The new website www.youronlinechoices.eu will provide a one-stop-shop for consumers: easy to find information about OBA aimed at making things as simple as possible. We are adding new languages as we move ahead to cover all EU countries.”

IAB Europe’s OBA Framework proves to policy makers that industry can self-regulate in a meaningful way.
“Europe’s industry has been leading in the development of OBA technologies. In the light of high standards of data protection in Europe, OBA technologies from the beginning have been designed in a privacy friendly manner in Europe. Thus, setting up a self-regulation regime is the natural evolution of these aspirations and we shall push this to become a success. European Commission Vice President Kroes invited industry to self-regulate OBA. We took her up and believe that such effective self-regulation provides a good example not only for OBA but for the online sector as such”, said Matthias Ehrlich, CEO United Internet Media, the media marketer of Europe’s largest internet company, United Internet and Vice-President Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (the German member of IAB Europe).

“The challenge is to self-regulate in a manner that squares the circle of more user control without slowing-down internet browsing. Any disruption of the surfing activity would negatively impact the value of the services users receive, which has been estimated in a McKinsey report to be EUR 100bn in 2010 for Europe and the US and is expected to grow to EUR 190 by 2015. We are looking forward to focusing on unleashing Europe’s potential to fund content and services with the support of policy makers in Europe” said Kimon Zorbas, Vice President IAB Europe.

For further information, please contact IAB Europe: 

Kimon Zorbas, Vice President, vp@iabeurope.eu
T: +32 494 34 91 68 (English, French, German)

Geraldine Gitel, Press Officer
T: + 44 (0) 7917 885380 (English, French)

About IAB Europe:

IAB Europe is the voice of the online advertising sector through its 29 national associations representing more than 5,000 company members, as well as corporate members including Adconion, Adobe, ADTECH, Alcatel-Lucent, AudienceScience, BBC, CNN, comScore Europe, CPX Interactive, Criteo, e-Bay, Ernst & Young, Expedia Inc, Fox Interactive Media, Gemius, Goldbach Media Group, Google, GroupM, Hi-media, InSites Consulting, Koan, Microsoft Europe, MTV, Netlog, News Corporation, nugg.ad, Nielsen Online, Orange Advertising Network, Prisa, Publicitas Europe, Sanoma Digital, Selligent, Smartclip, Specific Media, Tradedoubler, Truvo, United Internet Media, ValueClick,  White&Case, Yahoo! and zanox. Supported by every major media group, agency, portal, technology and service provider, IAB Europe coordinates activities across the region including public affairs, benchmarking, research, standards settings, and best practices.