Blog

Submitted by NAI on October 7, 2016

NAI has joined forces with industry leaders from around the globe as a founding member of the Coalition for Better Ads. The Coalition, which was created to improve consumers' experience with online advertising, leverages consumer insights and cross-industry expertise to develop and implement new global standards for online advertising. 

NAI member companies have long believed that a better consumer advertising experience is better for digital advertising.  Our support for the Coalition reflects not only NAI's traditional forte of ensuring responsible data collection and use with promoting responsible consumer privacy practices, but also a commitment to a better overall digital environment - one that gives consumers the best our industry has to offer in terms of customization, choice, content, and creativity. 

The Coalition was formed by the digital advertising industry's largest trade associations, representing a cross industry aspiration to make digital advertising better.  The Coalition shows that, as the Internet continues to develop, the consumer online advertising experience must also adapt to ensure that it responds to consumers’ evolving expectations. In reaching towards the goal of an elevated advertising experience, NAI will help direct the coalition’s mission and strategy. 

Our efforts will benefit not just consumers in the US, but globally. Through the Coalition, we will work towards standards that can be applied not just to the domestic US markets, but also internationally. The Coalition was first announced in Cologne, Germany during the Dmexco conference and a selection of the founding members include the European Publishers Council, IAB Europe, IAB Tech Labs, and the World Federation of Advertisers, as well as global  companies such as Facebook and Google. 

Over the past weeks, the Coalition has also gotten the attention of global media! With over 100 articles worldwide from leading trade and national publications, the Coalition, and its mission, has made a definitive impact.  Check out these pieces from Business Insider and AdWeek.

So, all of that is really exciting! But, now what? Here are some next steps:

  • The Coalition is working on showcasing consumer research that will drive change throughout the industry and highlight the types of ads and experiences consumers don't want, as well as those they do. 
  • The Coalition has initiated working groups dedicated to technology and the creation of standards intended to ensure great ad experiences for consumers, as well as working groups thinking about the public policy implications of the Coalition's work, and how companies can be held accountable for standards and best practices that will be developed. These working groups will begin their efforts shortly - and will report back to the Coalition members periodically to highlight their important work.
  • How can you help? Here are a couple of options:
    • Let NAI be your voice. As one of the founding members, NAI will help to form the long term outlook and strategy for the Coalition, as well as develop accountability practices and standards. Please give us your feedback; we will be directly involved in the working groups and the governing body, so we will ensure that the advertising technology industry is well represented. We welcome your input; please don't be shy!
    • Join the Coalition directly. Several NAI members have already made an individual commitment to the Coalition, separate and apart from NAI's founding membership. If you're interested in being more directly involved, please let us know and we will put you in touch with the Coalition's coordinators.

The Coalition's work will greatly benefit the online advertising industry as well as raise the customer advertising experience.  NAI will provide regular updates on the Coalition's activities in the coming months.  For additional information, please visit the Coalition's website at https://www.betterads.org/.

Submitted by NAI on August 29, 2016

By Leigh Freund

We are now just 70 days from the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Between the constant commercials and upcoming debates, Americans are making their decisions. But, too often, voters do not know critical Election Day information like where they will vote, what they will need to get a ballot, or even what’s on the ballot.

To make sure voters can find accurate information, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Google, and state election officials joined forces to create the Voting Information Project (VIP). VIP’s 50-state, free resource tells voters what they need to know to cast a ballot on or before Election Day – all without requiring any personally identifiable information.

On Wednesday, August 31, 2016, I will be joined by leaders from Pew for an NAI webinar to discuss this important project and share information on how NAI members can get involved.

One of the things I like most about NAI members is that they are industry leaders who give back to their communities by, among other things, applying innovative technologies to help society. For example, NAI members have been instrumental in helping the Federation for Internet Alerts (FIA) deliver critical severe weather warnings and AMBER alerts to geo-targeted audiences, saving many lives in the process. VIP is another opportunity to use innovative technologies to solve a very real societal challenge.

VIP was founded to address the problems caused by a lack of centralized, reliable Election Day information. I know NAI members will be excited about the opportunity to learn more about VIP and find ways to work together.

VIP has a track record of success. In the days before the 2014 mid-term election, their website and services helped more than 31 million people find their polling places and get ballot information via web search, Facebook, media websites, third party groups, and more.

During the webinar, we will explore some of VIP’s features including:

  • GettothePolls.com, a website that allows voters to enter their addresses and find the locations and hours of their polling places, as well as get ballot information.
  • The Voting Information Tool, a mobile-friendly, customizable tool that can be placed on a website and used to provide official voting information, including polling locations, in 16 languages.

We will also discuss the ways in which companies can boost VIP’s work, especially through unsold advertising space. It is important to remember that some voters will not seek out voting information, which makes it all the more important that it be accessible on websites that users frequent and trust. We’ll also want to hear from webinar participants about other ideas for spreading the word.

With early voting beginning in some states in about one month, this webinar is timely and relevant. We are looking forward to our discussion on how businesses can help voters make their voices heard in the 2016 election. Please join us!

Submitted by NAI on June 6, 2016

By Gary A. Kibel, Partner, Digital Media, Technology & Privacy, Davis & Gilbert LLP

In April, I followed the advice of a former resident of my hometown to “Go west, young man,” and attended the 2016 NAI Summit in San Francisco. Little did I know that a quiet summit would erupt with fireworks when the FTC seemed to challenge the very foundation of the NAI Code of Conduct.

There has long been a disconnect between the industry and regulators regarding what constitutes personally identifiable information (PII). Without one consistent statutory definition of PII or personal data, the parties are left to push their respective agendas. The NAI Code has a clear and workable definition. The FTC, however, views persistent identifiers such as device identifiers, MAC addresses, static IP addresses or cookies that can be reasonably linked to a particular person, computer or device as PII. With the exception of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), however, this is more an aspirational approach than a legal requirement.

The FTC’s mention of this broader yet noncommittal reading of the definition of PII reveals a bit of a regulatory vacuum in this evolving area. It is therefore important for all participants in the adtech ecosystem to be engaged and continue to establish and follow best practices that respect privacy and encourage innovation in this rapidly changing environment. The need for thorough and thoughtful self-regulatory organizations such as the NAI could never be more apparent.

Submitted by leigh.freund on April 28, 2016

I am pleased to report that our 2016 NAI Summit was a huge success!  It was great to see so many of our members at our first West Coast Summit in San Francisco, California.

The venue, the weather, the compelling programming – everything was terrific! I have a few favorite moments and some thoughts about the day that I’d like to share. But first, one of the highlights of the day for me was the exciting announcement that NAI membership has crossed the triple digit mark for the first time!  We were thrilled to welcome our 100th member, as well as a few additional members, just this month, and we have a vibrant new membership pipeline; all clear signs that NAI continues to grow and is a strong, vibrant and relevant organization. 

Achieving the milestone of 100 members is great, but it also reminds me why we’re here – we are committed to meaningful and responsible consumer privacy for the digital advertising ecosystem. It’s a huge task and mission, and one I take very seriously. The NAI Summit always provides an opportunity to reflect on where this commitment has taken us and where we still need to go, and allows us here at NAI to renew our commitment to providing real value to our members and to the digital advertising industry overall. 

With that said, here are a few of my takeaways from the 2016 NAI Summit:

  • First, and most importantly, we cannot rest on our laurels. The NAI Code and guidance are living documents – and we need to keep them that way!  It is imperative that our policies continue to evolve to keep pace with new industry technologies. Fortunately, we have top-shelf technologists on the NAI staff as well as an unprecedented level of diversity among our member companies and their business practices. Ongoing collaboration and interaction with our members, as well as continuing policy adjustments and clarifications, will help us keep ahead of the curve and ensure that our Code remains principled and inclusive of new technology.
  • We also must redouble our efforts to educate consumers, regulators, legislators, and others in our industry about what we're doing and why. New technologies offer both exciting opportunities and significant privacy challenges. Increased transparency around NAI’s robust compliance and enforcement efforts, with members as well as regulators, will help us remain an organization that gains consumer trust and reinforces our commitment to serious and responsible privacy practices.
  • State regulators care about privacy, too.  NAI collaborates regularly with our colleagues in government, but we often focus on federal policymakers and regulators. Increasingly, state officials are looking to develop regulations to protect consumer privacy. This was made clear at the NAI Summit in remarks by Justin Erlich, Special Assistant Attorney General to California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. NAI will be increasing our interaction with state regulators to demonstrate the value of self-regulation for cutting-edge, real-time privacy protection.
  • Best-in-class privacy programs are difficult and challenging, but worth every effort. The entire digital advertising industry benefits when companies from across the ecosystem commit to responsible data collection, use and management practices. It is a constant challenge to craft policies with privacy principles that allow different companies and business models to participate.  But when we get it right, it’s a win for everyone.
  • We must include engineers and product experts in our ongoing privacy discussions. Businesses and consumers are best served by products and platforms that include privacy by design. When the full team is included in discussions, the full range of expertise is available, helping us make policies that really work. We are already hard at work on new ways to incorporate engineers and product experts in our working groups, technology discussions, and even next year’s Summit – stay tuned!

So, we have a lot of work to do!  But, as with every opportunity we have to interact with the incredible talent our member companies employ, we are left energized and excited about the future. We are incorporating everything we learned into our plans for 2016 and beyond.

We also want your insights.  Share your Summit takeaways with us on Twitter using #NAISummit or post them on our Facebook page.  And check your email for a link to an online attendee survey.  Please fill it out to help us shape future Summit events.

Visit this blog for more Summit summaries and other content coming soon.