FTC Says New IAB Lead Gen Standards Not Exactly Groundbreaking

iab_logo_good.jpgJust when you thought the IAB’s Lead Gen Committee and the Online Lead Generation Association were getting a tad more friendly, OLGA has taken a swipe. The group has expressed its disappointment with the committee’s new lead gen best practices for publishers, claiming in a statement “the IAB has not gone far enough.” OLGA wants the IAB “to call for an end to the sharing of Personally Identifiable Information data by publishers with third-party marketing partners.”

In that statement, OLGA said sites sharing Personally Identifiable Information with third party marketers should not only disclose they’re doing so, but the disclosure should actually list the names of all the partners that could potentially receive the data. It’s a sticking point for the IAB. As IAB Lead Generation Committee Chair Gayle Guzzardo told me earlier this week, the group decided against listing all partner names at the point of registration because it could cause competitive disadvantages for publishers with relationships they may not want their competitors to be aware of.

I asked her whether publishers were worried about a long list of sometimes unrecognizable company names deterring consumers from registering for promotions. She insisted that wasn’t a factor.

OLGA was among the groups that assessed the guidelines before they were made public, which led me to believe maybe the two groups were burying the hatchet. But OLGA was pretty blunt about its disapproval of the IAB’s guidelines. Thing is, OLGA doesn’t have any official best practices at all, nor does it suggest in the standards and guidelines on its Web site that publishers should list all partners on registration pages. I was hoping to speak with OLGA about this today but got no response to requests to speak with OLGA Board Chairman Dan Felter.

Also, I’d love to know which publishers currently list all third-party marketing partners on their sites, much less on their lead gen reg pages. It doesn’t seem like something they’d want to broadcast. And who’s to know whether, if this actually became a standard practice, publishers would conveniently leave some names off the list?

The Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Marketing Practices Associate Director Lois Greisman didn’t think the guidelines were especially innovative. “The guidelines in terms of advertising disclosure do not cover new ground,” she told me this afternoon. “These are things the agency has been looking at for several years…those are the basic rules of the road for Internet advertising.”

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