Tacoda Guidelines in Line with IAB Aim to Influence Congress

tacoda_logo.gifTacoda put out a press release today laying out its internal laws for data usage in regards to its behavioral ad network. There’s not much new here, really, but I see a correlation with the announcement, the firm’s related efforts, and a new group Tacoda Chairman Dave Morgan is heading up for the IAB, its new Public Policy Council.

First, the Tacoda Guidelines
When it comes to advertisers, they own their campaign data, and information collected on their sites is theirs and won’t be shared with other firms or employed for other advertiser campaigns.

When it comes to publishers, they own their audience data, which is used only on an anonymous, aggregated basis for campaign reporting or external communications. Also, according to the release, “Publishers are transparently compensated for their data when it is used for a targeted ad delivery.”

As for users, the company said it will provide notice to all users and the ability to opt-out of the ad targeting system. Also, Tacoda reiterated the mantra of all behavioral targeting firms, noting they never collect or use Personally Identifiable Information.

The firm also mentioned two newer guidelines for users, originally announced in November: Sensitive data regarding health or children’s ages won’t be collected or used to target ads, and cookies are set to expire after one year. In my story regarding these two commitments, Tacoda’s Morgan also mentioned info on sexual preference would not be used to target ads.

“You don’t need to do stuff that would make an average consumer’s skin crawl,” he told me at the time. “It doesn’t serve anybody to do stupid things.”

Preemptive Strikes
Tacoda has been making a concerted effort for quite some time now to set itself apart from the black hats of online advertising, recognizing behavioral targeting can be controversial. Especially among the less savvy, behavioral targeting can be lumped in with spyware as a privacy-invading technology. While people familiar with Tacoda, Revenue Science, AlmondNet and other BT firms realize behavioral targeting is not the same, the fact is many people don’t.

The IAB/Capitol Hill Connection
The people who matter more and more to firms like Tacoda — and the rest of the online ad industry for that matter — are the ones who will be carving out federal legislation on Web privacy, spyware, and other ad technologies. So, announcements like these are made by Tacoda, it seems, in the hopes of obviating the sting potential regulations could inflict on the company.

Being named as an example of what some populist politician wants to save us from could be devastating for any firm. And though it’s unlikely Tacoda would be named among the alleged bad players, why take the risk?

It just so happens that Morgan is heading up the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recently-formed Public Policy Council. IAB CEO and President Randall Rothenberg told me today that group will focus initially on “the potential threats from ill-considered spyware and privacy legislation.”

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