Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Guidelines for behavioural advertising

The IAB has developed a set of guidelines for behavioural advertising, a format that has caused controversy. They have created an easy to read consumer guide here. The BBC has also reported it here and more guidelines for businesses in pdf form here. These have been signed by key companies including: Phorm, AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Key principles involve:
  • Notice. A company collecting and using online information for behavioural advertising must clearly inform a consumer that data is being collected for this purpose.
  • Consent. A company collecting and using online data for behavioural advertising must provide a mechanism for users to decline behavioural advertising and where applicable seek a consumer's consent.
  • Education. A company collecting and using online data for behavioural advertising must provide consumer with clear and simple information about their use of data for this purpose and how users can decline.
This is intended in part so as to make it easy for consumers to opt-out of advertising, although for many quarters this is not enough who prefer an opt-in system.

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.