IAB to Hold Presser in Face of Impending Gov’t Intervention

There’s no question the online ad industry is getting more serious about government intervention. With Congress pretty much saying they’ll draft a bill this year, and the Federal Trade Commission giving countless “this is your last chance” warnings (the last one took place during a panel I moderated in D.C. a couple weeks ago), organizations like the Network Advertising Initiative and the Interactive Advertising Bureau are on the defensive.

The IAB just sent out an invite to media outlets that indicates its serious attention to the matter. On June 10 in Washington, D.C., the organization “will announce the results of the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the economic and social impact of the ad-supported Internet,” according to the invite. “Produced by Harvard Business School Professors John Deighton and John Quelch, the IAB-commissioned study is an impartial and comprehensive examination of the overall impact of the Internet on the U.S. economy as well as its underlying components.

Well, we know the Internet has had a huge, mostly positive effect on the U.S. economy, and arguably society. And, at this point, the bulk of the revenue for Internet content comes from online retail and – yes – advertising. That qualifier, “the ad-supported Internet,” is important here. If we can assume the “ad-supported” Internet has been great for the economy and society, then the IAB will surely conclude that the industry that enables that ad support must not be squelched by strict regulations or legislation. Or else, they’ll argue, the positive impact of the Internet could in turn be damaged.

The event will be held at 12:30 on June 10 at the National Press Club.

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