Submitted by Bruce Morris on April 17, 2014

This week GfK released a survey about consumer attitudes regarding online privacy. Spending as much time as I have in media, I’m generally skeptical about all polls and surveys because in many cases the questions asked dictate the results. On top of that, I don’t think there were any dramatic revelations in this latest GfK poll. 

The report leads with the finding that nine in ten (88%) US consumers are "at least 'a little' concerned about the privacy of their personal data." In this era of identity theft, large scale data breaches, viruses, and credit card fraud I would hope it’s that high a percentage. I too count myself among those Americans concerned about privacy of personal data. I would also hope the other 12% visit the FTC’s outstanding consumer education page to learn about protecting sensitive personal information and preventing identity theft. 

The study further finds that “[o]ne in three consumers also report being directly impacted by misuse of personal data within the past year.” Last year I had to cancel one of my credit cards because of credit card fraud. So I’m likely in that group as well and frustrated, too. It’s also not surprising that the poll found that concerns about privacy have risen over the past twelve months given the current debate about NSA surveillance and high profile data breaches. Indeed, the poll notes that it was conducted in the wake of several major data breaches. Add to that new developments such as facial recognition technology, mobile apps that can collect vast amounts of information, debates about drones, the use of WiFi in retail stores, cameras on our PCs and game consoles, and the potential for “Googling” our employees, clients, etc. and I’d be surprised if concerns were not increasing. The fact is, privacy and responsible data governance are very important. 

I think the most valuable message from this poll is that consumer trust is critical for the online economy and that maintaining that trust is the driver behind NAI’s self-regulatory program for interest-based advertising. With the support of our members, we set high standards for the collection and use of data for interest-based advertising and we back up those standards with a robust compliance and enforcement program. The NAI Code (and Mobile Application Code) addresses issues around notice, choice, transparency, data security, data minimization, use limitations, access and accountability. NAI Code also has higher standards for sensitive information such as financial data that can result in identity theft, precise health information, precise location information, and information about sexual orientation. There are also restrictions on the use of data collected for interest-based advertising, helping to ensure that such data is not used for important decisions around employment, insurance, health care, credit and other eligibility decisions - the decisions that can cause harm to consumers, particularly if they are based on inaccurate information. 

Perhaps most significantly, those consumers who do not want their information (even anonymous information) collected and used for interest-based advertising can opt-out. With two clicks, a consumer can opt-out of the collection and use of data for interest-based advertising from all 97 NAI member companies. Over the past several years, millions of consumers have done just that. 

In the end, it’s about trust and the responsible management of data, whether it’s by third parties for interest-based advertising or social networks or online retailers collecting and storing credit card data. If industry (and our government) does this properly, future polls should show increasing consumer trust. Participating in self-regulatory programs like NAI is an important component of acquiring and building that trust.

Submitted by NAI on April 16, 2014

The second annual NAI Summit is fast approaching, and as we continue to round out the agenda for an informative and enjoyable day with many of the advertising and privacy industry’s best and brightest, we would like to give you a sneak peek at some of the event’s highlights. Here are just ten of the many reasons you should drop what you’re doing and register for the can’t-miss 2014 NAI Summit on Tuesday, May 20, in Washington, DC.

  • Privacy Fireside Chat with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill – When we say “best and brightest,” we really mean it. Join NAI CEO Marc Groman for a one-on-one discussion with Commissioner Brill, whom Adweek recently lauded as a “relentless and vocal advocate for more consumer privacy practices.”
  • Legislative Update: A Conversation with Congressional Staff – Get the lay of the land on U.S. privacy policy from senior staff members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. In a session moderated by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, learn the latest on current legislative topics such as Chairman Rockefeller’s privacy bill, the ongoing privacy review of the Energy & Commerce Committee and more.
  • What’s New at NAI? – Want to find out what we’ve done for you lately? Do it here. The Summit is a great opportunity to chat with NAI representatives to get the latest on all of the goings on at NAI and in the privacy landscape as a whole.
  • Do Not Track – The Deep Dive – Join NAI staff and members for an in-depth walkthrough of specifications and key concerns about W3C’s soon-to-be-released technical document. Attendees are likely to catch a lively debate about how to interpret the specifications and how they can impact digital advertising companies.
  • My Data is Anonymous – Says Who? – Various terms are being used to describe how companies are modifying data sets to make users less susceptible to identification. Hear more about them and how NAI uses them as well as what they really mean.
  • We Put the “Network” in Network Advertising Initiative – Rub elbows with the digital media and online privacy industries’ veterans and rising stars. Meet executives from Google, AOL, Yahoo, Turn, Rocket Fuel, BlueKai, MediaMath, eXelate, AppNexus and Criteo, among others.
  • Has the Cookie’s Death Been Greatly Exaggerated? – Despite dire predictions last year and bold moves by some browsers, the third-party cookie is not dead – yet. But changes in the digital ecosystem present new challenges that the cookie is not equipped to address. Find out more about how the industry will approach these issues and self-regulation’s role.
  • CEO Panel – Chief executives from eXelate, MediaMath, Rocket Fuel and more will wrap up the Summit with a summary of the day’s hottest topics and discussions, and will provide their insight into the issues most important to NAI members. Don’t miss what promises to be a lively debate among industry luminaries.
  • Rooftop Cocktail Reception – A warm spring evening? Check. Fresh air? Check. Good Cocktails? Check. Great conversation? Double check. Need we say more?
  • DC in the springtime – There’s no better time to visit our nation’s capital. Stay an extra day or two and check out some of Washington’s many spectacular gardens in bloom, visit one or more of the city’s amazing museums and galleries or immerse yourself in U.S. history at the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Building or any of the dozens of historical sites around the city.

And that’s just a taste of what’s to come at the 2014 NAI Summit. So, what are you waiting for? To register, visit

Additionally, NAI has reserved hotel room blocks at two hotels close to the venue:

  • The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel (Guests should use this link when booking. The cut off date for preferred member rate is April 21).
  • Hotel Lombardy (Guests can call 800-424-5486 and refer to Group #3019 when reserving their room. Note: Cut off date for preferred member rate is April 17).
Submitted by Charles Simon on April 15, 2014

Increasing membership and continued commitment to transparency, notice, and consumer choice led the NAI to fantastic Q1 2014 visitor numbers. received visits from nearly two million unique consumers in the first three months of 2014, up almost 60% from the same time the previous year. For the first time in NAI history, unique visitors to the NAI’s Education Page totaled more than one million and, incredibly, edged out the total traffic to our Consumer Opt Out Page – a page that’s linked to on hundreds of thousands of websites across the Internet. 

Submitted by NAI on April 8, 2014

An Interview with Erik Matlick, Chief Executive Officer, Madison Logic

Q: What does Madison Logic do?

A: Madison Logic provides intent data solutions for B2B marketers and publishers. Using our Content Consumption Monitoring technology, B2B brands are able to maximize the value of the leads they cultivate – from acquisition to loyal customers – and publishers can more efficiently monetize their businesses. With solutions driven by intent data, business buyers receive messages relevant to every stage of their journey to purchase.



Q: What prompted you to recently join NAI? 

A: Joining NAI reflects our core commitment to consumer privacy. We believe NAI’s mission to uphold the value of online advertising technology providers also aligned with our practices and we are thrilled to join their community. Respect for privacy and security are fundamental as to how we do business.

Q: Why is joining an organization like the NAI and complying with the NAI Code of Conduct particularly important for a B2B company?

A: The NAI is important for us as a B2B-focused company for several reasons. As we continue to grow, we needed a trusted partner whom we could turn to that provides an industry-accepted standard for privacy compliance and sage guidance. It’s especially important for us to stand in-line with our clients across standards. Our B2B clients represent many Fortune 500 companies, who all have the highest commitment to privacy, and the NAI affords a reference point for our clients. Finally, our commitment to privacy compliance requires us to keep up to date on changes and the NAI, through their webinars and educational support, acts as an excellent vehicle for distributing knowledge.

Q: In your opinion, why is privacy primarily perceived as a B2C discussion when it is obviously important to B2B buyers as well?

A: Privacy is incredibly important. Whether it’s a consumer in the B2C space or a user in the B2B space, it’s the cornerstone of a respectful communication discipline. In B2B, you’re not looking at a user’s personal information, but you still want to ensure that you’re respecting their privacy. The difference in perceptions is primarily the reference point – the e-mail address. Your personal e-mail address can point to you as an individual and can be your address for a lifetime. Your work e-mail lives only as long as you work for a firm and generally is controlled from an access point by your company. You use it for work issues and it generally does not point to any personal information. Additionally, since e-mails are a primary form of communication in the business world, you have business protocol and even international considerations to which you have to adhere. 

Q: What key values have you already seen from your membership and expect to see over the coming year?

A: The knowledge sharing through the NAI was immediately beneficial. The NAI has supported Madison Logic in evaluating various business models and products to determine which would be best from a privacy standpoint. Their compliance verification provides us with the acknowledgement of the standards we adhere to, bolstering client confidence when looking to use our services. Lastly, we look to the NAI for expert knowledge – their training programs assist us in keeping up to date and informed on industry privacy trends.



The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Network Advertising Initiative and/or any other contributor to this site.