IAB Aims to Prevent Government Intrusion Overseas

mikezaneis-jpgThe online ad industry’s most prominent trade group hopes to avoid government intervention from creeping into countries outside the U.S. and Europe.

“We want to have other markets get a jump on their own privacy” programs ahead of possible government regulations, said Mike Zaneis (pictured), reached by phone in Tokyo. Zaneis has been promoted to SVP and general counsel from his previous role as VP public policy. His promotion, announced this morning, is one of several minor staff changes at the Interactive Advertising Bureau that hint at a strategic evolution.

Zaneis spoke with ClickZ News before returning from a week-long trip in Japan, where he represented the IAB at the International Advertising Association conference.

“The reality is the industry needs to prepare long term for legal fights in policy areas,” said Zaneis.

The Federal Trade Commission’s recent call for a do-not-track list for online consumer data tracking and ad targeting is perhaps the most significant regulatory threat to the industry’s current way of doing business. The FTC’s highly publicized endorsement of a do-not-track system, coupled with pending privacy legislation, could have a game-changing impact on the online ad industry.

By educating industry and presenting its case in regions including Asia and South America, the IAB aims to prevent regulations and laws that could have a negative impact on the industry outside the U.S. and Europe, where governments are clamping down. “We’re not trying to lead the effort in Europe [or elsewhere]; we’re just trying to trying to partner” with international companies leading the self-regulatory charge, Zaneis said.

The IAB is also establishing an international trademark for the icon associated with the self-regulatory initiative it has spearheaded here in the U.S. “We’re trademarking the icon globally with the hope of making it available globally,” said Zaneis.

The IAB recognizes the global nature of digital advertising, and by extension, the potentially global nature of the laws that govern it. The Tokyo trip was the first international trip Zaneis has taken for the IAB, he said. The organization was also represented in Australia recently.

“We are really trying to work with international partners on privacy and self-regulation,” said Zaneis, who referred to the IAB’s strategy as a “redoubling of efforts.” In addition to his promotion, two other IAB execs have been promoted. Patrick Dolan, formerly EVP and chief administrative officer has been named EVP and chief operating officer, and David Doty, previously SVP for marketing and thought leadership is now SVP and chief marketing officer.

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