Wednesday, April 14, 2010
IAB and NAI Release Technical Specifications for Enhanced Notice to Consumers for Online Behavioral Advertising

Critical Step in Interactive Industry’s Ongoing Self-Regulatory Efforts

NEW YORK, NY (APRIL 14, 2010) — Advancing the self-regulatory efforts of the digital advertising and marketing industry, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) today released the CLEAR (Control Links for Education and Advertising Responsibly) Ad Notice Technical Specifications, a set of common technical standards enabling enhanced notice in online ads. These technical specifications will allow advertisers and ad networks to begin offering a clickable icon in or near online ads that directs users to additional information about online behavioral advertising and choices about such ads.

The icon-based approach to enhanced consumer notice was outlined in the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, which were released in July 2009 by a coalition of associations—American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Council for Better Business Bureaus (BBB).

“Transparency and notice are critical to creating a safe and enjoyable consumer experience,” said Mike Zaneis, Vice President, Public Policy of the IAB. “These specifications will allow third-party ad servers to seamlessly integrate the icon so that consumers have access to more information when they are being served an ad based on their interests and behaviors.”

The CLEAR Ad Notice Technical Specifications detail how third-party media companies, such as advertising networks, can provide enhanced notice to consumers through an industry-standard set of metadata tags that are delivered along with behaviorally targeted advertisements. 

Those metadata tags include information on which organization(s) served the ad, where to find their advertising policies and how to opt-out of such targeting in the future.

“The metadata infrastructure proposed in this specification provides a sound technical foundation for informative notice about behavioral advertising, while giving publishers, advertisers and ad networks the flexibility to adopt innovative approaches to consumer disclosure,” said Charles Curran, Executive Director of the NAI. “We look forward to working with the IAB and other leading industry associations to support implementation of enhanced notice to consumers.”

The CLEAR Ad Notice Technical Specifications were developed to:

  • ·         Meet the third-party requirements set forth in July 2009 as part of the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising released in July 2009 by the cross-industry Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising Working Group
  • ·         Provide enough flexibility for future expansion as the online advertising industry matures
  • ·         Be open such that publishers, browser developers, tool developers or any other party can easily take advantage of the information presented to the user and find new ways to communicate this information.

The CLEAR Ad Notice Technical Specifications can be found at:

It is important to note that these technical specifications are intended for third-party media companies.  There are separate requirements set forth in the Self-Regulatory Principles concerning first-party notice on publishers’ own websites, such as an independent link in the footer of a web page (e.g. “About Our Ads”).  Publishers should refer to the Principles document for specific first-party guidance. 

To view that document, please go to

About the IAB:
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 460 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C.  For more information, please visit

About the NAI:
The NAI (Network Advertising Initiative) is a coalition of more than 40 leading online marketing companies committed to building consumer awareness and reinforcing responsible business and data management practices and standards, and which includes all ten of the largest online advertising networks in the United States.   Its initiatives are piloted by a cooperative of the most significant online advertising companies including Akamai, AOL Advertising, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, AlmondNet, AudienceScience, BlueKai, Media6degrees, SpecificMEDIA and 24/7 Real Media. As increasingly sophisticated online advertising technologies evolve, the NAI works to enhance consumer confidence through effective self-regulatory practices and user choice. To learn more, visit <>

Media Contacts:

Marla Aaron
Director, Marketing Communications
[email protected]

Andrew Weinstein