Self-Regulation

DMA believes that self-regulatory measures are preferable to governmental mandates. Self-regulatory programs are more readily adaptable to evolving technologies, shifting consumer preferences and changing economic and social conditions. They encourage widespread use of sound business practices, building consumer trust while allowing businesses to quickly adjust their practices to best meet the needs of their customers.

DMA has and will continue to support and promote self-regulation for marketing data usage, while also working to ensure that self-regulation remains a viable and effective means of protecting consumers while fostering innovation.

Self-regulation is the most efficient and effective way to respond to privacy issues related to marketing and advertising.  For this reason, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) raised concerns about the privacy implications of online behavioral advertising, DMA partnered with other large media and marketing associations to launch the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising, which gives consumers a better understanding of and greater control over ads that are customized based on their online behavior (also called "interest-based" advertising).

The Program calls for interest-based ads to include an “Advertising Option Icon” that links consumers to information about online behavioral advertising and allows them to make choices about the interest-based ads they receive.  By clicking on the icon, consumers can visit the industry-developed AboutAds Consumer Opt-Out Page to easily opt-out of some or all of the interest-based ads they receive, if they choose.

DMA and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) share responsibility for ensuring accountability and enforcement of the Program.  All DMA members are required to comply with the Program as a condition of membership, and enforcement activities will extend to both members and non-members.  The DMA will ensure compliance through the use of monitoring technology and utilizing monitoring technology specifically designed for the Self-Regulatory Program.  In addition to DMA’s long-standing complaint-based system, advanced monitoring technology will enable DMA to proactively seek out compliance issues across the Internet, and gather evidence to effectively investigate the complaints received.