The Slant – Programmatic Q&A with IAB’s efforts to curb viewability, fraud and privacy issues

By Mariama Holman

A conversation with Steven Chester, the Internet Advertising Bureau’s director of data and industry programs.

PA.O: What tangible steps is the IAB currently taking to eliminate viewability. fraud and privacy problems?

Steve Chester: The IAB is working very closely with other trade bodies, and as part of JICWEBS, to address viewability and fraud to deliver education, best practices and standards to the market with the aim of maximizing viewability and minimizing fraud.

Four vendors (comScore, Double Verify, Integral Ad Science and Moat) undertook and were certified against our display standards for viewability in November 2014, delivering transparency to the market about how they measured viewability and their capabilities.

Furthermore, the IAB worked with other bodies in the development of the Your Online Choices initiative, a Europe-wide initiative, featuring a set of good practice principles that businesses follow (and are certified and/or audited against) who partake in behavioral targeting. This good practice is based upon businesses being transparent about the information that is collected and used for retargeting purposes, and seeks to provide consumers with control.

At the heart of this is the requirement for behaviorally targeted ads to include a visible blue icon which links to the site. The site delivers information to consumers about how behavioral advertising works, giving the functionality to view which companies are using cookies (for behavioral targeting purposes) on consumers’ computers and the ability to remain opted-in or to opt-out from these companies.

PA.O:  Do you suggest creating system that places penalties or inflicts damages on parties guilty of breaking IAB guidelines?

Steve Chester:  No, not as such.

Approaches where companies are certified by independent third-party vendors is, we believe, the best approach.

Initiatives, such as the Digital Trading Standards Group Good Practice Principles for brand safety, and viewability principles are examples which implement this approach. A similar approach is being developed for Fraud. Companies that participate in these programs and are successful in passing receive seals to prove and showcase their compliance to their clients and partners.

Any loss of such seals in itself will very likely have an impact upon how and who they trade with.

An important point to point out is that the IAB is not a regulator, which is not to say that we shy away from being clear about what is and is not acceptable business practice; however, policing and/or closely monitoring compliance to standards by thousands of companies would require a significant third-party resource, which would be finite and/or limited.

Therefore, the above approach is to encourage and/or reward companies that undertake accreditation and thus, produce transparency to the market about this.

We absolutely believe in guidance, best practice and delivering transparency to the market, and when required, the certification and/or auditing programs to prove the capability and commitment of companies to meet standards.

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