SpotXchange is the first video ad network to ramp up integration of directly-served behaviorally targeted in-stream video ad campaigns in its network with the Digital Advertising Alliance's (DAA) Advertising Option Icon, a notice to consumers to provide more transparency and control over the collection and use of their data regarding their Internet viewing for online behavioral advertising (OBA).
The DAA's Advertising Options Icon
Otherwise known as the Advertising Options Icon, the symbol from the DAA's Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising provides enhanced notice to online viewers. The Advertising Options Icon appears within the SpotXchange ad player at the top of every ad unit. When a consumer sees a video ad online, they can click on the "blue arrow with an i" icon to learn more about behavioral advertising, read about data collection and use practices, and easily opt-out of behaviorally targeted advertising, if desired. In addition to hosting its own opt-out functionality, SpotXchange also participates in the DAA's consumer choice opt-out page.
As a consumer and video viewer, I like that. However, I think that an active ad campaign will need to be done to get the viewers to know what that icon is because yes, it's obviously information of some sort, it's not so obvious that it's about their online privacy and data gathering. So perhaps the first ads we should see with that icon, are ads about that icon to make online video viewers aware of it.
SpotXchange is the first company that is serving up the icons on all inventory they have that is behaviorally targeted in the core network (not sure if there is some other form of network over there that's not covered).
"We are one of the leading advocates for consumers when it comes to online video advertising and consumer privacy," said Mike Griffiths, Vice President of Data Analytics at SpotXchange and co-founder of Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), one of the leading industry associations participating in the DAA's Self-Regulatory Program. "SpotXchange is very involved in all video advertising self-regulatory efforts. The more transparent we are as an industry leader in video advertising, the more impact we have on public opinion about privacy issues and how behaviorally-based advertising supports a robust Internet that brings better content and more value to consumers.”
Now SpotXchange might not have made my "where to put your video ads" top three based on August 2011 comScore numbers, but they still have a lot to offer:
SpotXchange Video Ad Marketplace - 289,128,000 video ads, 178,000,000 ad minutes, 8.0 ads per unique viewer and 12% reach of the total US population.
What is the Advertising Option Icon?
Even I am not sure what exactly the icon is all about, so I did some digging. The initiative is an expansion of the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising as mentioned but what does it really do.
From a consumer standpoint, it offers valuable information not only about behavior advertising in general but also about the choices they have for opting out of targeting from some, and even all participating advertising. It also gives consumers a clear cut way to lodge a complaint if they thinks something fishy is going on.
For companies it offers info on the program, allows them to register for inclusion and also file a complaint.
Finally for online behavior targeting firms, they can put information out for consumers on what is collected, how it is used and hopefully, how it's secured and who has access to it. On top of that you can receive access to the icon (with compliance of requirements one hopes) and get registered for the consumer opt-out page which should be automatic when using the icon I think.
Opt Out Page
Here's an awesome feature, the Opt Out Page or Consumer Choice page. I loaded it up and it showed that some 64 companies were available for me to opt out of. Included in those companies are Brightroll, Akamai, AOL Advertising, Cox Digital Solutions DataXu, Glam Media...oh heck, it's a long list. Just go check it out.
Honestly, you really need to be dedicated to your privacy because you might not know what each company does and so will need to read a brief bio of the firm to determine, unless you're one of those that just opts out of everything (which means you might just continue to get ads you hate) by clicking a single box. There is an upside for consumers in behaviorally targeted ads, you see stuff you're more likely to be interested in rather than constantly seeing things like hair growth, penis enlargement, weight loss and instant riches ads. Gee, I wish there was a button to opt out of that stuff actually.
Here's some info on what that page gives consumers:
Using the tools on this page, you can opt out from receiving interest-based advertising from some or all of our participating companies.
- Find out which participating companies have currently enabled customized ads for your browser;
- See all the participating companies on this site and learn more about their advertising and privacy practices;
- Check whether you've already opted out from participating companies;
- Opt out of browser-enabled interest-based advertising by some or all participating companies, using opt-out cookies to store your preferences in your browser; or
- Use the "Choose All Companies" feature to opt out from all currently participating companies in one step. GO
Why You and Your Company Should be a Member
Right now, consumers think of your data gathering as shady, invasion of their privacy and less-than-desirable. Much of that comes from the fact that they just don't understand who you are, what you do, why you need all that data, why you should be able to collect it without their knowledge and finally, how you use it. Becoming a member, following the self-regulatory guidelines and getting certified to be included in the program, pulls you and your company out of the shady depths of privacy invading, shifty-eyed misconceptions of data mining and into the bright spotlight showing that you're not afraid to show your face, you're not afraid to tell people what you do and you're above board.
Sure, many might opt out anyway, but overall the general impression of your company could drastically improve. However, if we find that you are not holding up your end of the bargain, you can bet we will be lodging formal complaints. So don't think you'll be able to fool all of the people, all of the time. I'll be keeping an eye out.
Finally, one lol moment. I was reading email from someone and they mentioned GamePro (it's well documented that I'm also a video games journalist). Lo and behold, what did I find at the bottom of their page? Yep, an Advertising Options Icon. Check it:
The power of that icon? I instantly thought, "huh, maybe GamePro isn't so bad after all, I had better check them out further..."
That my dear readers, is the true power of that icon right there. Kung Pao! I'm out!