Can Small Publishers Help IAB’s Cause?

Can an army of small publishers help the Interactive Advertising Bureau fight measures it views as a threat to Internet advertising?

IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg said that’s the purpose of a plan to offer an introductory membership fee of $500 for publishers that obtain less than $1 million in annual revenue from online advertising. Currently, the membership fee typically begins at $10,000 for publishers.

The IAB move is aimed at building grassroots support against proposed legislation in New York and Connecticut that would ban the collection of data about online consumers without a person’s specific consent. The Federal Trade Commission is working on behavioral marketing guidelines that call for interactive advertisers to police themselves.

The IAB contends that the proposed measures would have a disproportionate negative impact on small publishers that rely on ad networks to manage advertising sales.

“Most of the publishers on the Web are long-tail. This [initiative] puts a face on [those publishers] whether it’s a technology blog, gay and lesbian site, or a local high school sports blog,” Rothenberg said in an interview with ClickZ News. He announced the IAB initiative at Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing summit in New York City, where he spoke at a session called, “Case Study: Does the Government Want to Kill the Web?”

Privacy advocates contend the existing laws need more teeth so marketing activities, such as behavioral targeting, don’t trample consumer privacy.

IAB’s new fee structure will be voted on this week by the organization’s 375 members, Rothenberg said. If approved, the small publishers would be entitled to special pricing for IAB events, training programs designed for small publishers, and other offerings.

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