TRUSTe to Unveil Behavioral Icon for Publishers

Longtime Web site security validation service TRUSTe planned today to unveil a program for publishers to comply with recommended guidelines for behavioral advertising. The Behavioral Advertising Notice and Choice Program follows recent moves from a self-regulatory coalition toward developing monitoring systems for advertiser compliance with behavioral ad guidelines.

The TRUSTe program, set to launch mid-Q1 with participants including AT&T and Comcast, is designed to help publishers comply with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, revised about a year ago. The program calls for publishers to feature an icon on their sites where behaviorally-targeted ads or retargeting occurs, along with the message, “Your Info and Ads.”

The icon, provided to publishers as a widget, will link to a TRUSTe-branded and hosted pop-up including notification about the behavioral ads, and choices for opting-out from the controversial form of ad targeting. During the pilot period, the organization will test placement of the icon, and various notice language.

The FTC behavioral advertising guidelines call for all Web sites collecting data for behavioral ads to “provide a clear, concise, consumer-friendly, and prominent statement that (1) data about consumers’ activities online is being collected at the site for use in providing advertising about products and services tailored to individual consumers’ interests, and (2) consumers can choose whether or not to have their information collected for such purpose.”

In devising the program, TRUSTe worked with PrivacyChoice, an organization that maintains a database of ad targeting firms and enables consumers to opt-out from being tracked by their systems.

Online advertisers are also scrambling to develop their own compliance systems in the hopes of appeasing the FTC and evading government regulation of behavioral advertising. Earlier this month, six technology firms submitted proposals for third-party systems to monitor for compliance with the industry’s own self-regulatory behavioral ad principles.

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