Since 2000, the NAI has brought together industry leaders to establish and enforce standards for the collection and use of data for online behavioral advertising (OBA). Below is a brief timeline outlining our story of success and innovation.

2000: The NAI publishes the NAI Principles, the first set of self-regulatory standards governing OBA and the industry’s first opt-out page. The initial Principles, commended by the Federal Trade Commission, were the first to address the online use of non-personally identifiable data for advertising and the first to require consumer-facing notice and a choice mechanism.

2008: The NAI publishes an updated Code of Conduct incorporating new restrictions on the collection and use of sensitive data and data related to children. The 2008 Code also requires an annual compliance report, detailing members’ compliance efforts. Pursuant to this requirement, the NAI published reports for 2009, 2010, and 2011.

2009: The NAI launches a consumer education page, providing a centralized location for a variety of informational articles, videos, and other creative content designed to educate users about OBA. To raise awareness of these resources, NAI members have deployed billions of ad banners linking to the NAI’s educational page across their networks.

The NAI testified before a joint hearing of the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and Communications, Technology and the Internet. The testimony focused on the economic benefits to Web content providers and consumers that result from online behavioral advertising and the steps taken by NAI members to o promote transparency and choice for OBA.

2010: NAI joins the Digital Advertising Alliance, a non-profit organization of leading companies and trade associations including the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the NAI. The DAA was formed to administer and promote the Self-Regulatory Principles for online data collection.

NAI members lead industry efforts to develop and implement a standardized icon to provide a visible indication to consumers that an online advertisement may be targeting to their interests. The icon is now served trillions of times annually.

The NAI released the results of a first-of-its-kind study measuring the pricing and effectiveness of behaviorally-targeted (BT) advertising online.  Based on proprietary data provided by twelve major advertising networks, the study found that in 2009, behaviorally-targeted advertising secured an average of 2.68 times as much revenue per ad as non-targeted “run of network” advertising.

2011: The NAI requires members to provide additional transparency to consumers regarding the use of health-related data used for OBA purposes. Members are required to post on their websites any interest segments they use for OBA purposes that are based on health-related conditions or treatments.

2012: The NAI issues its third compliance report which demonstrated that overall, NAI member companies continue to meet the obligations of the NAI Code and to adopt best practices even where not required by the Code. The report also revealed:

  • Member companies included in the report don’t use, or permit others to use, OBA data for purposes other than marketing. 
  • Reporting companies did not use or seek to use sensitive consumer data as defined by the NAI Code for OBA purposes. 
  • Evaluated member companies do not collect PII for OBA purposes, and they have policies and protections in place to prevent the inadvertent collection of this data.
  • The NAI website witnessed explosive growth in 2011, with 8.5 million unique visits to the site overall and nearly 6 million unique visits to the NAI's opt-out page. 

As online advertising continues to grow and diversify and new technologies emerge, the NAI will remain a vigorous advocate for responsible online advertising standards and effective consumer choice mechanisms.

2013: The NAI releases its fourth annual compliance report, which reflects NAI member companies' continued commitment to the principles set forth in the NAI Code. The report also details the NAI's planned initiatives for 2013, including the development of a revised NAI Code and of principles governing the collection and use of data on mobile devices.

On March 1, the NAI releases for public comment a draft code of conduct for public comment. The draft code would require NAI member companies to provide notice in and around the targeted ads they serve, explicitly limit the uses NAI members may make of data collected for interest-based advertising and ad delivery and reporting purposes, and provide new, comprehensive education and guidance for member companies on how to meet the obligations of the code.

On May 16, the NAI released the final 2013 Code of Conduct, which imposes rigorous education, notice, transparency, choice, and data security requirements on NAI member companies.  The final Code also reflects the expanded scope of the third-party ecosystem, in addition to offering flexibility in order to accommodate existing and emerging business models and practices.  The updated Code will formally be enforced starting in 2014. 

On May 21, the NAI held its inaugural Member Summit at the Glass Houses at the Chelsea Arts Tower in New York City.  The Summit themed “Third Parties and the Future of the Internet” featured keynote speaker Maureen Ohlhausen, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, along with representatives from NAI member companies, including a CEO panel.  The panel topics included hot-button issues such as Do-Not-Track, the future of cookies and new technologies.

On July 24, 2013 the NAI released the final Mobile Application Code, which expands the organization’s self-regulatory program to cover data collected across mobile applications.