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New 'Little i' Icon Coming This Summer to Online Ads

Iicon

You've probably never seen the icon pictured in this post before, but Web surfers should expect to see a lot of it in the near future.

The New York Times reported here yesterday that the advertising industry has agreed on a new standard icon (left) to accompany online ads that are delivered based on demographics and behavioral data. The icon, which should start popping up regularly by this summer, is being introduced to ward off potential action by regulators.

Both Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have reportedly voiced concerns that the privacy policies of companies are not clear or accessible enough to protect visitors, and questioned whether online data is being used appropriately. Indeed, the move to create the icon came after the FTC warned that it would move in unless the industry devised stricter self-regulatory principles.

The Times reports that most major companies running online ads are expected to begin adding the icon to their ads this summer along with phrases like “Why did I get this ad?” Consumers who click on the icon will then be taken to a page "explaining how the advertiser uses their Web surfing history and demographic profile to send them certain ads."

There is no legal requirement that advertisers adopt the icon, but experts predict that many large companies will quickly begin running it.

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 27, 2010 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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