DMA begins enforcement of behavioural advertising regulations

3rd Feb 2011

The Direct Marketing Association has started enforcing its online behavioural advertising regulations and is using internet monitoring technology to gather evidence against wrong-doers.

The DMA launched its Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioural Advertising in October last year in a bid to avoid formal state intervention.

Under the scheme, interest-based adverts must include an ‘Advertising Option Icon’, which provides consumers with a link to information about online behavioural advertising. They can also opt out of receiving some or all online ads by going to an ‘AboutAds Consumer Opt-Out Page’

Linda Woolley, the DMA’s executive vice president of government affairs, said that the organisation had spent the last few months educating businesses about its Program and their responsibilities under its Principles.

"We are now moving forward with monitoring and enforcement to make sure that businesses are using interest-based advertising responsibly across the entire advertising and marketing ecosystem," she added.

On receiving complaints from either consumers or rivals, the organisation will use monitoring technology to "proactively look out for compliance issues across the internet and gather evidence to effectively investigate the complaints we receive," Woolley continued.

If a potential violation is found to exist, the offending party will be contacted and given advice on how to become fully compliant with the DMA’s scheme. Enforcement action will be taken against both DMA members and non-members, however, with members facing censure, suspension or expulsion from the organisation if they refuse to comply.

If legal violations have taken place, meanwhile, the case will be referred to appropriate law enforcement bodies and may also be made public.

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