NAI Cracks the Whip on Noncompliant Members

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whip.jpgADOTAS – The sentiment surrounding the first Federal Trade Commission privacy roundtable regarding online advertising held earlier this month was that, even though it was outnumbered by privacy advocates, the interactive advertising industry made a persuasive case for its transparency and self-regulation efforts.

But industry advocates aren’t patting each other on the back and taking a nap. The hard cases at the National Advertising Initiative conducted a review of 23 companies that had been members of the organization for more than a year to surmise whether they were in compliance with the NAI’s behavioral targeting guidelines.

When the NAI found that 10 networks had not disclosed the retention periods for data in behavioral targeting initiatives, it cracked the whip. Before the report was released, six of the slacker companies had updated their websites to include a retention period while the remaining four have promised such a revision by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Still, the NAI isn’t satisfied: “Although these educational and transparency efforts are substantial, the NAI Staff believes that NAI membership, as a whole, could do even more, individually and collectively, to educate consumers about [behavioral targeting],” the report noted. Sheesh, these guys don’t give anybody a break.

Since updating its provisions in 2008, this was the first in-house compliance report issued by the NAI, whose network members include AOL, Google and Yahoo!. Next year the report will include 35 members. The 10 delinquent networks were not identified, but their shame runs deep.

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