‘Who cares about self-regulation’?

The recent release of the full Digital Britain report was
incredibly important for the IAB in many ways – the fact it acknowledges the
role of self-regulation, emerging advertising models and even welcomed our
behavioural targeting Good Practice Principles.

However, there remain some in the industry who question
this, (see in particular the comments here) and refuse to see a role for bodies that promote self-regulation such as the
IAB and of course IASH. In my opinion, this is a hugely irresponsible view that
when at its most extreme could actually thwart the growth of the industry at a
time when the spotlight is well and truly on online, as a marketing medium.

As an industry of publishers, agencies and networks, we can
sometimes forget where our main responsibility lies – with the brand
advertisers.

In terms of IASH and network advertising , we want to
protect these brands and prevent them from appearing against content that
contains hate, indecency, obscenity, guns, illegal spyware and worse. IASH
Members which comprises of Networks and Sales Houses, go through stringent
audits to show that they comply with the IASH Code and do not deliver ads
against such content.

Without such processes in place, we run the risk of even
stricter regulation, that begins to move out of our control, straight into the
hands of policy makers

‘But it’s all about money, surely?’ some may argue… I doubt
very much if any agency wishes to tell their clients that they had the
opportunity to trade safely and securely but turned it down because of a few
pence off the CPM.

The majority of Media Agencies understand the importance of
self-regulation models such as IASH. They understand the lengths the Members go
to in order to ensure they can trade safely. They also understand that what
they are buying is transparent – they know that the ad they booked will appear
against the type of content they have agreed to. Perhaps this is why the model is being
adopted in Germany, and the US.

It’s this transparency that needs to remain intact, and the
industry needs to be united in this objective.

In my opinion this needs to be understood, and appreciated
by ALL, as online advertising moves into this next, very critical stage.