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Online Advertising Self-Regulatory Organizations

Online advertising self-regulatory organizations are independent bodies of experts and advertising technology professionals that help to establish standards for quality and ethical conduct in the purchase, sale, and display of online advertising.

There are several such organizations currently active in the online advertising sector in the United States, Canada, and Europe. This page describes who the key organizations are, what they do, and key projects, working groups, and objectives of each. 

On This Page

The Network Advertising Initiative

The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) is the leading non-profit self-regulatory association focused on responsible data collection and use in online advertising, with an emphasis on third-party advertising technology companies.

In 2013, the released a Code of Conduct that assesses types of data used by member companies for advertising purposes, and imposes clear and firm restrictions on members' data collection, use, and transfer for online advertising, as well as a Mobile Application Code, which was last updated in 2015. 

The NAI also offers a Consumer Opt-out page, where Internet users can opt out of receiving online advertising from NAI members who use HTTP cookies on computer browsers. 

AppNexus is an NAI member and sits on NAI's Board of Directors.

The Digital Advertising Alliance

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) is an online advertising industry association made up of many other member organizations. Its focus is on ethical self-regulation in the online advertising and ad tech industries, and its purpose is to expand self-regulation for interest-based advertising to the entire ecosystem.

The DAA is probably best known for it's Advertising Option Icon, also known as the "Ad Choices" icon, which is an icon publishers can place on their pages offering users options about what is happening when they encounter advertising on a page and how they interact with that advertising. When users see the Ad Choices Icon on a page, they can click on the icon to learn what data is being gathered and how it's being used, and, if they choose to, opt out of being included in this data collection and usage process. To use the Ad Choices Icon, publishers must pay an annual fee. More information about the Ad Choices Icon is available on the DAA's web page.

The DAA also provides a comprehensive self-regulatory program, as well as publications, recommendations, and misconduct reporting resources for Internet users and companies involved with digital advertising. In addition, they do policy and advocacy work to improve digital advertising practices.  

Trustworthy Accountability Group

Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is devoted to cross-industry collaboration to foster transparency in digital advertising business relationships and transactions. TAG focuses on four core areas: "eliminating fraudulent digital advertising traffic, combating malware, fighting ad-supported Internet piracy to promote brand integrity, and promoting brand safety through greater transparency." 

TAG is a joint effort of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). 

AppNexus is a member of the Board of Directors, the Leadership Council, and various working groups. AppNexus also co-chairs the anti-malware working group.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is a member organization for media and marketing industries active in the digital economy. Its members are responsible buying, selling, optimizing, and analyzing digital advertising and marketing campaigns. 

Together with its member companies, the IAB develops technical standards, best practices, and research, with an emphasis on education and awareness raising among brands, agencies, and general business community regarding the value of digital advertising. The IAB promotes professional development and improved knowledge, skills, and expertise across the digital advertising and marketing industries. 

More information on member organizations, councils, committees, and working groups, as well as their projects, publications, and initiatives is available on the IAB website

There are numerous global IABs, and AppNexus is a member of IABs in multiple countries worldwide. 

The Direct Marketing Association

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is a global member organization whose stated mission is to advance and protect responsible data-driven marketing, both online and off. They advocate policy that promotes the use of ethical data-driven marketing with positive outcomes for both end-users and marketers, and host the Dynamic State of Data conference "to discuss issues affecting data-driving marketers with leading policymakers of the day". 

Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada

The Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC) is the leading Canadian self-regulatory member organization working in online advertising and ad tech. Canadian companies who wish to use the Ad Choices Icon may apply through the DAAC, and the organization also provides education for consumers and companies. 

The DAAC operates with a focus on five key themes: notice and transparency, consumer control, data security, sensitive data, and accountability. More information on how they relate to these principles can be found on their website

European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA)

The European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) is the leading alliance of digital advertising organizations in the EU.  It is a cross-industry self-regulatory group developed by key leaders in European business and digital advertising, with the goal of introduction EU-wide standards to "enhance transparency and user control for online behavioral advertising".

The cross-industry self-regulatory initiative was developed by leading European bodies to introduce pan-European standards to enhance transparency and user control for online behavioral advertising. This type of advertising increasingly helps to support the content, services and applications that internet users can enjoy at little or no cost. The EDAA bases its objectives on IAB Europe's Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) Framework and the European Advertising Standards Alliance's Best Practices for online behavioral advertising.


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