IAB Preps Policy Drive

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will soon break its long silence on policy issues, ClickZ has learned. The association confirmed it’s putting the infrastructure in place to educate and lobby around legislation that affects online advertising, after receiving a mandate from its board.

As a first step, the association will hire a staff member dedicated to policy initiatives, said IAB President and CEO Greg Stuart. Through polling of members, that person will formulate unified positions on pending legislation and other policy concerns. Eventually, a policy committee is likely, and the group may retain a lobbying firm to facilitate direct relationships with legislators.

“The first step is to identify someone who can come in and help organize members, find a point of view, articulate that point of view around as many channels or issues as we need to,” Stuart said.

The IAB has been notably missing-in-action on other policy issues involving interactive marketing, letting others like the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and the NAI’s E-Mail Service Providers Coalition (ESPC) take the lead on spam-related issues. At the time, Stuart blamed the lack of involvement on the lack of a mandate, too few resources and a need to focus on other priorities.

The first item on the policy agenda will be the recently introduced H.R. bill 29, a.k.a. the SPY-ACT or “Bono Bill,” which seeks to outlaw certain uses of cookies. “We’ve been having serious discussions with a number of members who are concerned about the spyware bill in Congress,” Stuart said. A representative of the group attended a recent pow-wow of online marketing trade associations in Washington.

The IAB’s legislative priorities will eventually include lobbying, press relations and education of the public. “The IAB represents some of the world’s largest media companies who have unbelievable access to consumers,” he said.

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