SECTION 1: ABOUT EDAA
The EDAA has been established by a cross-industry coalition of European-level associations with an interest in delivering a responsible European Self-Regulatory Programme for Online Behavioural Advertising, which benefits internet users with greater transparency, choice and control.
To enable companies to benefit consumers in this way, the EDAA is responsible for licensing a globally-consistent ‘OBA Icon’, integrating businesses on the innovative Consumer Choice platform on www.youronlinechoices.eu (YOC) and ensuring credible compliance and enforcement procedures are in place, through EDAA-approved Certification Providers who deliver an EDAA-developed ‘Trust Seal’, and coordinating closely with the European Advertising Standards Alliance and national self-regulatory organisations for consumer complaint handling.
SECTION 2: EUROPEAN PRINCIPLES
The European Principles documents are (i) the IAB Europe OBA Framework, and (ii) the EASA Best Practice Recommendation on OBA. The IAB Europe OBA Framework serves to codify industry self-regulatory standards for Online Behavioural Advertising in Europe, highlighting a set of key principles which participating companies must adhere to. The EASA Best Practice Recommendation on OBA builds on this Framework by providing guidance to national advertising Self-Regulatory Organisations, under the umbrella of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), to apply credible OBA complaint handling and sanctions mechanisms, ensuring the accountability of the Programme.
The European Principles focus on the practice of Online Behavioural Advertising, and do not cover:
(i) strictly “first party” OBA – i.e. OBA data collection and use by a website operator, across their own website(s).
(ii) contextual advertising (display advertising which is delivered based on the context/content of the page where it is displayed);
(iii) ad delivery and ad reporting (as defined in the EU Principles).
Whilst the European Principles are intended to apply broadly across a wide range of marketing and media entities, they focus on:
These types of entities work interdependently to deliver relevant advertising to specific computers or devices in ways that enrich the consumer online experience. The Principles also cover technologies that are intended to collect all or substantially all URLs (websites) that a PC (or any other device) traverses and uses such data for OBA. This could include tools and software like toolbars, desktop applications, ISP-based technologies, etc.
Companies must fulfil their specific obligations under the European Principles related to the particular role(s) of each company in collecting and using data for OBA purposes.
The European Self-Regulatory Programme for OBA does not directly cover Ad Servers and Platforms’ activities in so far as they are acting merely as a tool for their clients, and do not themselves collect, use, nor own, any such data for their own purposes. However, in this case, if their clients are using such OBA data through the ad server/platform’s technology, those clients must be informed about the need to comply with the European Principles for OBA.
Your obligations under the European Principles differ depending on your role in the European online digital advertising ecosystem. For more information, companies should refer to the European Principles documents and self-certification criteria.
All companies acting as third parties (as defined in the European Principles) who are engaged in the use of OBA data in order to deliver ads must obtain an OBA Icon licence from the EDAA. All companies engaged in the collection of OBA data must participate on the Consumer Choice platform. In order to obtain the relevant licence agreements, please apply here.
Website Operators may voluntarily licence the OBA Icon and there are many benefits in doing so (see Q7 of these FAQs for more information).
Website Operators should also ensure that all third parties involved in OBA they work with are participating in the EU Self-Regulatory Programme and are compliant with the EU Principles. Participating companies can be viewed here. In due course (late 2013 & 2014 onwards) advertisers and agencies will also be able to recognise compliant “third party” partners by the EDAA ‘Trust Seal’ which will be awarded to companies following an independent compliance assessment and ongoing monitoring of their OBA practices – see Section 5 of these FAQs.
Acting as a first-party, you are under no obligations to licence the OBA Icon. Under the EU Principles for OBA, first parties must provide ‘adequate disclosure’ to consumers and may voluntarily licence the OBA Icon to use in footer links, if they wish to do so.
Though it is voluntary, licensing the OBA Icon has many benefits for first parties, as consumers will recognise the OBA Icon and associate it with enhanced privacy standards. Put simply, website operators will reap rewards of increased consumer trust and therefore use of the OBA Icon could lead to increased consumer interaction with your website.
If collecting OBA data as a Website Operator for advertising or retargeting across websites under your Common Control (i.e. which you own and operate over 50%), then there is no need to integrate onto the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform. If collecting OBA data from third party websites (either directly or through a technology provider) for use across your own websites, or if using OBA data collected from across your own websites for advertising or retargeting on third party websites, then you are effectively acting as a Third Party and would be required to integrate onto the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform, in order to give consumers the choice and control over this type of targeting. The latter would be considered as a form of Third Party OBA.
The European Principles are designed as ‘technology-neutral’. However, there is currently no technical specification in place for serving the OBA Icon across mobile ads, or applying the pan-EU Consumer Choice platform across mobile devices. A number of technical limitations prevent a consistent deployment of the icon across all mobile devices. The existing implementation guidelines and Principles also apply solely to data gathered via web browsers. If you would like to use cross-app, precise location or personal directory data, additional considerations must be taken into account, which are not currently integrated in the European Principles. The potential extension of the Principles to the mobile environment in Europe is currently under discussion by key stakeholders. More information will appear here in due course.
SECTION 3: OBA ICON & “YOC” CONSUMER CHOICE PLATFORM
It is an interactive symbol to be placed in or around online ads (by “Third Parties”), or on websites where OBA data may be collected and/or used (by “Website Operators”), and demonstrates that companies involved in serving the ads are respecting the self-regulatory principles in a way that empowers consumers. The OBA Icon will increase consumer and marketer trust in Online Behavioural Advertising by linking through to consumer-friendly information about OBA and online advertising, and the Consumer Choice platform on www.youronlinechoices.eu.
The OBA Icon should not be confused with the EDAA Trust Seal, which will be awarded by approved Certification Providers to compliant businesses. For more information on the separate Trust Seal, which can be obtained by compliant businesses, see Section 5 of these FAQs.
The OBA Icon must always provide a clear and prominent link through the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform. This platform ensures that the consumer is offered a clear and easily accessible choice and control mechanism over OBA, by some or all participating companies. The platform is hosted on the website www.youronlinechoices.eu, administered by the EDAA. This website (currently available in 29 country-specific versions and 24 different EU languages) serves as a one-stop-shop for consumers, offering: clear information about OBA and online advertising; a mechanism to enact meaningful choice and control; a portal to file any consumer feedback or complaints with the national advertising Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) – see Section 5 of these FAQs.
Companies may also provide their own company-specific opt-out mechanisms; however, these must be in addition and complementary to participation on the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform, which serves as a pan-European, one-stop-shop for consumer information, choice and control regarding OBA across Europe.
All companies involved in actively using OBA data to deliver online display advertising should acquire a licence to use the OBA Icon.
Third Parties: for instance, ad networks, technology platforms, data aggregators, Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs). For the avoidance of doubt, retargeting is considered as Third Party OBA covered by the European Principles.
Website Operators (voluntarily): advertisers and publishers across sites under their Common Control (owned and operated by the same company).
It is the full responsibility of a company to hold a valid licence from the EDAA for such use, regardless of how the integration is done (via an Approved Icon Provider, or in-house).
Yes, it is different. Since the Ad Network is collecting and using OBA data on your behalf, each ad they place on your behalf must carry the OBA Icon, for which the licensing obligation sits with the Ad Network.
Many advertisers, however, prefer to manage the placement of the OBA Icon centrally via their Ad Agency and/or Ad Server to provide for more branded control of the opt-out messaging and in some cases reporting.
If you choose to manage this directly via your Ad Server or Ad Agency, the obligation to license the OBA Icon directly from the EDAA, sits directly with you, and you cannot use the OBA Icon via your Ad Server or Ad Agency without a license for your company to use it from the EDAA.
All companies involved in actively collecting and using OBA data which may be used to then deliver online display advertising based on this data, should register to integrate onto the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform, to provide consumers with the choice and control over this data collection.
This also includes where data may be collected for retargeting purposes.
There are specific guidelines as to how the OBA Icon should be integrated on online advertising (types of ads, size, colour, etc.). These are specified in the Technical Specifications for implementing the IAB Europe OBA Framework and EASA BPR on OBA in Europe, as well as some further rights of use (and limitations) as detailed in the appropriate licence agreement which can be requested from the EDAA by applying through the online form.
In order that companies can effectively deploy the OBA Icon on their campaigns, the EDAA has approved two commercial providers offering icon integration services: Ghostery and TRUSTe. We recommend the services of these providers and more information can be found here.
The OBA Icon must only be used as described in the Technical Specifications for implementing the IAB Europe OBA framework and EASA BPR in Europe document.
Particularly, the OBA Icon must not be used for any other purpose/business need other than ensuring compliance with the European Principles and offering consumers the choice and transparency for OBA that the Icon represents. It is not mandatory to include the OBA Icon in rich media or video ads, due to technical limitations. If a company wishes to apply the icon in such ads and has the technology available to do so, then there is no restriction as long as this is informed to the EDAA and agreed in advance.
Use of the OBA Icon and “YOC” Consumer Choice platform is afforded to companies who have signified a commitment to the European Principles and signed the appropriate licensing agreement(s) with the EDAA. No company may use the OBA Icon in Europe or integrate onto the platform without a valid licence from the EDAA.
The Tariff Schedule is consistent for all participating companies and annexed to the OBA Icon Licence and YOC Participation Agreements. In brief, the fees are applied per calendar year, and are set at 5.000 EUR for each service.
In order to help ensure that no company is ‘priced out’ of the Programme, the EDAA also provides a (40%) discounted rate for SMEs, of 3.000 EUR per service. An SME is considered as any company with less than 3 million EUR in annual revenue from all online display and video advertising.
EDAA is a non-profit organisation and the fees applied are designed to ensure that the EU Self-Regulatory Programme can run effectively across all EU and EEA markets. The fees support operational aspects of the Programme such as an effective administration, development and maintenance of multiple websites including the monitoring and functioning of the Consumer Choice platform, as well as integration with well-established Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs) for complaint handling across Europe and initiatives to build consumer understanding and awareness of OBA (such as an OBA consumer awareness campaign being rolled out in all EU & EEA markets across 2013/2014).
The EDAA has been established to administer the licence for the OBA Icon and the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform to any company practising OBA within Europe, which is committed to the comprehensive set of European Principles which make up the Self-Regulatory approach. On signing the “OBA Icon Licence Agreement” / “YOC Participation Agreement” with the EDAA, participating companies are considered to be signatories to the IAB Europe OBA Framework.
Website Operators may also licence the OBA Icon from EDAA without necessarily signing up to the IAB Europe OBA Framework (this is optional, and many “Website Operators” choose to do so for the additional visibility).
Whether or not a signatory to the Framework itself, all use of the Icon must respect the licensing terms and conditions of the EDAA and should be consistent with application methods laid out in the Technical Specification for implementing the IAB Europe OBA Framework and EASA BPR in Europe.
SECTION 4: LICENSING PROCESS
Having perused the European Principles documents, please apply for the OBA Icon and “YOC” Consumer Choice platform via our online form.
If you have any questions prior to applying, which may not be covered in the EU Principles or these FAQs, please contact us.
Once the online application form has been submitted, you will receive an automated response to know that this has been received by the EDAA. We will contact you further – usually between 1-3 working days – with a recommendation on how best to move forward within the Programme and will provide the appropriate licensing agreements, depending on your description of the business model.
There are separate licence agreements for:
(i)Website Operators using the OBA Icon in order to provider ‘adequate notice’ of OBA data collection and use by third parties permitted on their sites;
(ii) Third Parties using the OBA Icon in order to signal their OBA practices in a contextual (in-ad) manner to consumers;
(iii) Third Parties using the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform to provide consumers with choice and control over the collection and use of OBA data.
The OBA Icon Licence and YOC Participation Agreements are provided on a “fixed-form” basis. Once signed, the EDAA will provide a package of further information (including icon creatives with accompanying texts for all markets; technical guidelines for “YOC” integration) and further details with regard to next steps (self-certification and independent compliance assessment) in the Programme.
SECTION 5: CERTIFICATION PROCESS
Purpose: a ‘declaration’ of compliance to the EDAA once the company is satisfied that they are fully adhering to the European Principles.
Timeframe: six months. All companies having licensed in 2012 or 1H 2013, will have six months from 15 July 2013 (date of the announcement of approved Certification Providers) to have completed the self-certification. All new companies will have six months from the date of signing. Self-certification must be completed prior to the next step – an independent certification assessment and ongoing monitoring by an EDAA-approved Certification Provider. Companies not completing the self-certification within this timeframe will be considered to be in breach of the Programme, and EDAA may take appropriate action (i.e. withdrawing company use of the OBA Icon or “YOC” Consumer Choice platform).
Further information: please have a look at the self-certification criteria and the online form through which companies must submit their self-certification. Once this form has been submitted, one copy is sent electronically to the EDAA and a second copy is sent to the company (to the email address submitted on the form). Companies should retain their copy of the self-certification, as this may be requested at a later stage by a Certification Provider in order to validate the information as part of completing the independent compliance assessment.
All participating companies are required to self-certify, though “Website Operators” have a significantly limited criteria, respecting the different roles between Third Parties and Website Operators within the Programme.
Purpose: to obtain an independent assessment of compliance.
Companies can choose from a range of EDAA-approved Certification Providers in order to fulfil the further compliance obligations: an independent compliance assessment and continuous monitoring of compliance related activity. All approved providers to-date offer an annual assessment of compliance.
Timeframe: within 7 months of signing up (or for existing licencees – within 7 months of 15 July 2013). Companies not completing the independent compliance assessment within this timeframe will be considered to be in breach of the Programme, and EDAA may take appropriate action (i.e. withdrawing company use of the OBA Icon or “YOC” Consumer Choice platform).
Further information: in order to help ensure a competitive market EDAA has approved multiple providers. As the process must be handled independently of the EDAA, exact pricing and assessment methodologies should be agreed directly between the company and the Certification Provider.
Certification Providers are required to apply the certification services in an independent manner (from industry and other services). All approved Certification Providers have verified this independence to the satisfaction of the EDAA. Where a Certification Provider is also providing other services within the European Self-Regulatory Programme (such as acting as an approved OBA Icon Provider), EDAA has deemed that these services are being performed in a manner demonstrating a clear separation of internal business processes.
Topline: the ‘Trust Seal’ (pictured below), a symbol of good standing, responsibility and trust to the business community and consumers – demonstrating verified company compliance with the European Principles – will be awarded once the company has self-certified, undertaken the annual compliance assessment, and successfully passed 30 days of uninterrupted ongoing monitoring of compliance by an approved Certification Provider. The EDAA Trust Seal will be hosted by the selected Certification Provider (with back-end validation mechanisms) to be displayed on the compliant company’s website.
Timeframe: 8 months. The company should obtain the Trust Seal within 8 months of signing up (or for existing participants – within 8 months of 15 July 2013). This comprises of the 6 months for self-certification, an additional month for compliance assessment, and a further 30 days of ongoing monitoring prior to award of the Trust Seal.
Yes. EDAA will offer visibility and recognition to those companies progressing within the Programme. In order to incentivise companies to undergo the compliance and certification process sooner rather than later, the stage that companies have obtained will be made public and visible in an end of year report, and on the EDAA website. Please see example of the latter, at: http://www.edaa.eu/participating-companies/.
SECTION 6: SRO’S, CONSUMER COMPLAINT HANDLING & POTENTIAL SANCTIONS
Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs) are independent bodies set up by the ad industry to apply advertising codes of practice. In the case of OBA, the EASA Best Practice Recommendation on OBA details how SROs are responsible for consumer complaint handling on OBA.
SROs are currently in the process of incorporating the self-regulation of OBA into their remits. They will apply clear, user-friendly and accessible mechanisms for consumers to file complaints on allegedly non-compliant businesses. These mechanisms will be accessible either directly through the website of the national SRO, or through www.youronlinechoices.eu.
SRO processes, specifically (where appropriate) investigations and sanctions, are tailored to an OBA context. This ensures effective enforcement of the rules in a coherent and consistent manner. SROs apply national codes, though these codes on OBA reflect the European Principles. A full list of SROs, as well as contact details, can be found on the website of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA).
In order to ensure upmost consistency for businesses and consumers, only one specifc SRO will contact any single company regarding a complaint against that company’s OBA practices. The SRO will be determined by the company’s designated “Country of Origin” when signing the appropriate Icon Licence and/or YOC Participation Agreements with the EDAA. Each company must ‘self-designate’ an SRO based on their Country of Origin, according to specific criteria which ensure that the company designates an EU country where there are offices with a competent decision making presence.
In cases where your company has no European office, or it is unclear where the most appropriate country to designate would be, you should discuss this directly with the EDAA prior to signing the licence agreements.
SROs follow consistent procedures for complaint handling (informal resolution; investigations; adjudications) and when applying appropriate sanctions. If you have any questions not covered here regarding the roles and processes of SROs, please contact us.
The SRO in the ‘country of origin’ of the company will handle a relevant consumer complaint. However, the SRO in the country of the consumer will be responsible to inform the consumer of the status and outcome of their complaint in their local language.
EDAA reserves the right to refuse or revoke any licence for use of the OBA Icon and/or “YOC” Consumer Choice platform, if it deems that these services are being misused, in order to protect the integrity of the Programme for the benefit of all participating companies. This will be done only after warning the company of their misuse and providing a small grace period to rectify the issue. If a company has their licence revoked, they will be able to reapply for the licence once EDAA is assured the company has taken appropriate steps to prevent any further misuse.
Where appropriate, sanctions applied by national advertising SROs are based on a stepped approach and include (i) name and shame – i.e. publication of non-compliance; (ii) ad alert – i.e. informing business community of non-compliance; (iii) removal of ‘Trust Seal’ used to signal compliance to the market; (iv) withdrawal of use of the OBA Icon/“YOC” Consumer Choice platform; (v) as a last resort, referral to the relevant regulator. These sanctions would be applied on stepped process, considering the nature of a breach and whether or not it is deemed to be a serious, persistent and/or deliberate breach.
SECTION 7: CONSUMER AWARENESS AND ATTITUDES
Across 2013 and 2014 the EDAA is running a pan-European OBA consumer awareness campaign. This takes the form on online display ads, focused on an “Unzipped” creative concept developed by Mediacom Beyond Advertising, where the OBA Icon is promoted clearly and prominently. The campaign, created and developed by the EDAA, is supported and implemented in each national market by the local IAB.
SECTION 8: BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPATING COMPANIES
There are countless benefits to companies that licence and participate in the EU Self-Regulatory Programme on OBA. Here are a few:
a) Building/improving brand image;
b) Increasing responsibility and trust in advertising;
c) Ever-increasing consumer awareness of the scheme;
d) High visibility of participating companies;
e) Recognition as being part of an industry-wide pan-European and increasingly global standard;
f) Helping to actively ensure the future of OBA as an essential element of your online marketing strategy!
EDAA expects increasing consumer awareness of the OBA self-regulatory scheme at a rapid rate given the interactive, consumer-facing nature of the OBA Icon. The Icon will be delivered on a mass scale, with billions upon billions of impressions expected every month. Consumers will be inquisitive and learn more about the practice of OBA through the user-friendly language and information offered on the www.youronlinechoices.eu website which has already generated substantial traffic in a number of countries.
Beyond high visibility of the OBA Icon, an educational campaign aimed at increasing consumer awareness of the programme is planned to be launch early Q2 2013.
It will also be clearly evident to consumers which companies have signed up to the programme through a range of measures. Firstly, company-owned and designed interstitial pages will enable company branding and visibility to be part of the interactive consumer experience. Moreover, lists and logos of participating companies will be displayed on both the YourOnlineChoices website as well as this EDAA site. For companies integrated onto the User Choice platform there is also added visibility and credibility generated. Finally, a Trust Seal will be awarded to compliant signatory companies.
All the above and more ensure the exceptionally high visibility of the self-regulatory programme and the companies involved across Europe.
SECTION 9: GLOBAL SELF-REGULATORY LANDSCAPES & THE LEGAL CONTEXT
From 12 October 2012, all companies practising OBA within Europe must obtain a licence for the OBA Icon and YOC participation directly from EDAA.
If a multinational company is operating in both jurisdictions, they would be required to obtain each relevant licence.
Companies should note that the EDAA is responsible for administering the self-regulatory approach across all European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries. Markets beyond this are not currently within the scope of the EDAA and may apply other regulatory or self-regulatory requirements. It is the sole responsibility of each company to check and adhere to all applicable rules in any territories outside of Europe.
The EDAA licence is a pan-European licence which covers the practice of OBA across Europe, in accordance with the European Principles documents. The European Principles place obligations on “Third Parties”, whilst “Website Operators” may licence and use the Icon voluntarily alongside their obligation to provide ‘adequate disclosure’. In some national contexts it may be necessary for companies to adhere to separate First Party frameworks. If so, a company should contact their national SRO (self-regulatory organisation) – visit www.easa-alliance.org to find your national SRO – or IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) – visit IAB Europe to find your national IAB – to find out if this is necessary. Currently only Germany requires companies to adhere to a national first party framework, and this is administered by the German “DDOW”.
EDAA, through close collaboration with the Digital Advertising Alliance in the US has worked to ensure that a single global Icon can be used across the US and European jurisdictions for purposes aligned with the European Principles on OBA. This has helped to ensure consistency in approach between the distinct self-regulatory environments for the benefit of business and consumers.
The Self-Regulatory Programme on OBA is complementary to applicable European and national law and should not be viewed as a substitute. The self-regulatory work predates the framing of the revised ePrivacy Directive in Brussels in November 2009, which is implemented into the national laws of EU countries. It seeks to offer internet users greater transparency and control over behavioural advertising. Many national-level governments explicitly support the initiative and industry remains engaged with the national regulators, European Commission, as well as consumer and civic society groups, as this initiative progresses. This approach recognises that each type of digital business has a role to play in achieving compliance, but that not one solution on its own may necessarily achieve this.
No. Any company practising OBA within Europe may licence the OBA Icon and integrate onto the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform, through the EDAA. If you would prefer to contact a national-level organisation, local IABs and SROs (self-regulatory organisations) would be pleased to assist you. For contact details of your national IAB, please visit IAB Europe.
No. Any company practising OBA within Europe may licence the OBA Icon and integrate onto the “YOC” Consumer Choice platform, through the EDAA. If you would prefer to contact a national-level organisation, local SROs and IABs would be pleased to assist you. For contact details of your national SRO, please visit the EASA website.