Wednesday, November 3, 1999

Calls For Advertisers And Agencies To Abandon Use Of "Trap-Door" URLs

New York, NY - November 3, 1999 - Announcing a significant addition to it's membership policy, the Board of Directors of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) will present its members with a new condition for membership regarding the mandatory adoption and posting of privacy policies. The organization will issue its recommended privacy guidelines for members within the next two weeks.

"We believe that in order for our members to continue to benefit from the expansion of the Internet and successfully build their businesses, they must also protect the privacy of consumers, who are at the center of all Internet companies' business plans," noted IAB Chairman Rich LeFurgy. "The protection of individuals' privacy has always been a de facto condition of IAB membership, and now it is official."

Addressing an increasingly thorny issue that has the potential to impede users' online experience, and move them away from sites, the IAB has also issued a call to advertisers and agencies to abandon the use of so-called "Trap-Door URLs". Also known as "Back Button Disablers," these applications are built into some banners as a tracking mechanisms and prevent the user from using the back button to return to the site they were initially on, in effect forcing them to navigate back through other, more cumbersome techniques, or quit altogether.

"We believe that Trap Door URLs are an inappropriate use of the medium since they deceive and frustrate consumers," LeFurgy noted. "While we believe that the intent is not to disenfranchise the user, in effect it does. More importantly advertisers are hurt by the practice as it leaves users with a negative experience, and publishers suffer since they lose traffic, which in turn affects the effectiveness of other advertising on their sites. The cessation of this practice will be beneficial for the industry at large. In fact some of the major portals like Excite@Home and Lycos, and major online destination sites like the New York Times, already have policies in place, and will not accept ads that include "Trap Doors."

These two initiatives were presented to the IAB membership at the organization's Fourth Annual East Coast Membership Meeting in New York. Other highlights of the all-day meeting included the election of seven new IAB Board members, the presentation of the IAB-sponsored second quarter Ad Revenue Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the presentation of the IAB's Agency of the Year award to Lot21.

Founded in 1996, the IAB is the leading online advertising association with over 300 active members. Its activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, fielding research to document the effectiveness of the online medium and educating the advertising industry about the use of online advertising. Current membership includes companies that are actively engaged in the sales of Internet advertising, with associate membership including companies that support advertising, -- interactive advertising agencies, measurement companies, research suppliers, technology suppliers, traffic companies and other organizations from related industries. A global organization, IAB member countries include Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and is currently developing membership countries in Asia and Latin America, as well as other countries in Europe. The IAB and the Internet Local Advertising & Commerce Association (ILAC) agreed to combine their organizations in July of 1998.


Marla Nitke IAB
[email protected]