Bits and Bytes for September 20, 2004

IAB Sets Rules for Pop-Ups

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today published its final guidelines and best practices for the use of pop-up and pop-under advertisements.

Key elements of the guidelines include a frequency cap limiting each visitor’s exposure to no more than one pop-up ad per visit; a mandatory close box for all pop-ups and pop-unders; and a requirement of user-initiated audio/visual elements. The voluntary guidelines are supported by many interactive media companies.

The IAB issued a set of proposed guidelines in April 2004, and after a two-month feedback period, the IAB’s Pop-Up Task Force revealed that survey participants voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping those same guidelines.

“Consumers spoke, publishers spoke, advertisers spoke and we listened,” said Adam Gelles, the IAB’s director of industry initiatives. “We’re hopeful that these guidelines will address the needs of all stakeholders, offering clarity and specificity to agencies and their clients and most importantly, an improved user experience for consumers.”

Details will be posted on the IAB Web site and an educational program will rolled out around these specifications.


British Airways Promises Best Sleep

British Airways today launched an interactive campaign touting its “Best Sleep Guarantee,” a promise that business class flyers will get the best in-flight sleep they have ever had, or they will be upgraded to first class on their next flight.

The online campaign, developed by Agency.com’s itraffic interactive marketing and advertising subsidiary, will run for eight weeks on business news sites, as well as some geo-targeted sites in key British Airways departure cities.

“British Airways was one of the first airlines to understand that there is more to interactive marketing than promoting tactical offers driven by low fares,” said Stacey Nachtaler, senior vice president and managing partner of itraffic. “The ‘Best Sleep Guarantee’ is another first for the industry and we’ve developed an online campaign that captures that innovation and is sure to engage business travelers.”

The ads will emphasize British Airways’ 180-degree flat bed and private cabin. The “Best Sleep Guarantee” follows a string of online campaigns developed by itraffic to promote British Airways’ sleep-friendly business class.


Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports Share Content

The Wall Street Journal Online and ConsumerReports.org today announced an agreement to integrate selected content into one other’s subscription sites.

ConsumerReports.org’s subscribers will see selected Online Journal news and feature articles on the ConsumerReports.org site. The selections will include consumer-focused breaking news and coverage, on topics ranging from air travel to automotive innovations to personal technology.

Online Journal subscribers will get relevant information from ConsumerReports.org along with WSJ.com’s daily news coverage, including buying advice, product reviews and other Consumer Reports articles. For example, if the Online Journal publishes an article about sport-utility vehicles, Consumer Reports could provide links to its exclusive ratings of SUVs, along with a buyer’s guide to the vehicles.


Rescuecom Sues Google Over Trademark Infringement

Syracuse, N.Y.-based franchised computer services firm, Rescuecom is the latest company to sue Google for serving AdWords that use trademarks as “keyword triggers.”

In its lawsuit, Rescuecom argues that Google allows and advises other computer service companies to use the word “Rescuecom” in the sponsored links program. It asserts that such a practice is in violation of trademark law, and as a result leads to Google users contacting and utilizing rival companies who they think are associated with Rescuecom.

Rescuecom previously would issue “cease and desist” letters straight to its competitors threatening legal action if the usage was not discontinued. According to the suit, the company learned that the keywords were provided to the competitors by Google, sparking the current legal action.

Google’s AdWords program has been the target of lawsuits before. GEICO and American Blind and Wallpaper Factory have filed trademark infringement suits against Google over the practice of selling trademarked keywords.

Until recently, Google’s policy was not to allow advertisers to use others’ trademarks as keywords, but it changed that policy in April.

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