Self-Reg Ad Icon: Millions in Revenue?

  |  November 7, 2011   |  Comments

Combined, the three certified compliance firms enabling the Ad Choices Icon could be generating up to $1 million per month in serving fees.

daa-iconThe three companies certified to serve the online ad industry's self-regulatory icon into ads say they've experienced exponential growth in impression volume this year. And overall, hundreds of billions of ad impressions include the behavioral ad symbol each month.

Combined, the three certified compliance firms could be generating as much as $1 million per month in ad icon-serving fees.

The Digital Ad Alliance - the sprawling ad industry coalition that spearheaded the icon and its compliance system - recently marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of the ad icon and consumer choice opt-out tool.

Evidon, a firm launched primarily to serve the burgeoning services market associated with online ad industry self-regulation monitoring and compliance, told ClickZ News it delivered "nearly 20 billion" impressions of the DAA icon in October, not including "several million" impressions of the icon on publisher websites.

Competitor TRUSTe, an early pioneer of the online privacy sector, also claims it's been serving 20 billion impressions of the icon each month, and expects that number to double in the next six months.

Meanwhile, ad verification company DoubleVerify said it serves 10 billion impressions of the icon each month, up from 5 billion in Q1 of this year. Evidon enables icon delivery within display, video and mobile ads. TRUSTe enables delivery in display and video and plans to enable mobile serving soon. DoubleVerify is display-only currently.

Fees associated with icon serving and compliance by the three firms are typically priced at $0.01 to $0.02 per CPM, with exact cost often dependent on volume and other factors. At that rate, the three DAA certified firms - which are serving around 50 billion impressions per month - rake in somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million in total each month from icon serving and compliance fees.

Of course, that's money online advertisers did not have to spend before the DAA introduced the icon and related compliance regime, which is intended to stave off impending online-privacy oriented government regulation.

Still, the 50 billion monthly impressions served by the DAA-certified compliance firms is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of billions of additional display ads that also feature the icon but are served by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL, each of which tack on an Ad Choices icon to many of the ads served on their owned properties and in their networks. The DAA recently reported that 600 billion impressions of the icon were served in August, and more than 10 billion are served daily.

According to comScore, more than 1.1 trillion display ads were delivered to U.S. users in the first three months of 2011. The measurement firm said 346 billion of those impressions were delivered on Facebook, ads that aren't subject to the DAA regulation program.

In addition to growth in impression serving volume and related fee revenue, the three certified companies are also building up their staffs. For instance, TRUSTe recently hired a managing director of advertising solutions. Patricia Neuray formerly served as SVP national ad sales and customer marketing at Business.com, and once was VP of Yahoo search. The company is "building an internal team to specifically address customer privacy requirements in online advertising in order to meet growing demand," according to a press release about the hire.

TRUSTe has more than 30 staff focused on advertising privacy solutions, up from under 10 a year ago. Evidon, which solely serves the DAA compliance market, has also bolstered its staff from around 14 a year ago to 40 today. DoubleVerfiy would not reveal information about its staff.

TRUSTe counts more than 100 clients using its ad compliance product including AOL, Alamo Rent A Car, Choice Hotels, Comcast, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, along with DSPs, ad networks, and publishers. Evidon's clientele has grown from six customers in January to over 150 today. DoubleVerify declined to provide information about customers of its DAA compliance services.

With Congress currently focused on debt reduction - not to mention the 2012 election - privacy bills floated early this year haven't received much attention lately. Still, Federal Trade Commissioners and select legislators have maintained a drumbeat on privacy issues related to online behavioral advertising throughout the year. Even if things remain status quo this year, expect more movement on online ad privacy bills in 2012.

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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