Posted May 28, 2008 10:54 pm by with 2 comments

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently set their “Interactive Campaign Setup Best Practices,” out on the world.

For those of you not familiar with the IAB, their site’s about page defines them as:

Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau represents over 375 leading interactive companies that actively engage in and support the sale of interactive advertising. IAB members are responsible for selling over 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the continuing 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 evaluates and recommends standards and practices, fields interactive effectiveness research, and educates marketers, agencies, and media companies, as well as the wider business community, about the value of interactive advertising.

Their about page goes on to state their six core objectives as being:

  • Fend off adverse legislation and regulation
  • Coalesce around market-making measurement guidelines and creative standards
  • Create common ground with customers to reduce costly friction in the supply chain
  • Share best practices that foster industry-wide growth
  • Generate industry-wide research and thought leadership that solidifies Interactive as a mainstream medium

The new best practices document makes recommendations for both web publishers and advertising agencies during the setup phase of an online advertising campaign.

Key recommendations from the document:

– Translation of ambivalent contract language into terms that both agency and publishers understand and can input into an ad server
– Clear communication of billing methods between agency and publisher
– Education of media buyers by publishers on the intricacies of rich media fees
– Specifics on information exchanged between parties at the commencement of the advertising campaign

Like with most best practice talk, this document makes me feel a little icky. Your best practices may not be my best practices. The smallest amount to join the IAB is $10,000 a year in dues. Does this organization then represent the affiliate marketer, or the publisher that is getting a million page views a month on their vacation site? No.

So when they release a best practices document like this the harm could be to small publishers that are pushed to the side due to their perceived lack of “best practice” accommodation to media buyers.

This is the same problem, and same argument that pops up throughout the Internet as more and more organization cry out for best practices and industry standards. You cannot define the entire industry by one set of standards or best practices, so concepts like Bruce Clay’s list of SEO ethics almost seem like the route to go, as they do not create a system of regulations, but rather a boundary from which we should not ethically meander.

  • G’day from Australia,

    Love your thoughts, and we have a similar angst with the Australian branch, however, it extends to the fact they’re not really helping the indutry promote themselves. According to one of the judges, at last years awards, the event was a shambles….

    In Australia you have, which promotes the benefits of TV Advertising. But in no way does the IAB make an attempt.

    I work in a tiny agency and, with some colleagues, am setting out to help educate the marketing people of Australia on how and why to use digital/online marketing.

    We’re launching on July 1st and would love to get your feedback. We’re featuring work from around the world and Australia to show the benefits, if you have any thoughts, I’d appreciate hearing them.


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