Building Trust 16 November 2016

OTA Releases Trustworthy Advertising Vision, Calls for Coalition to Avoid Ad Industry Meltdown

White paper outlines fundamentals needed for trust


Seattle, WA –Today global non-profit, non-partisan think tank the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) released the white paper entitled, “Vision for Trustworthy Advertising.” The white paper outlines foundational principles required for growth and innovation in digital advertising, addressing mounting consumer issues regarding the online advertising experience.

OTA lays out in the white paper how the absence of meaningful privacy controls on data collection, lack of security assurances and click bait practices of native advertising harm the ad industry, the brands that rely on advertising and the end-user. The organization also identifies concerns that consumers take “free” content and services for granted, failing to appreciate the value-exchange they receive from advertising.

With upwards of 25 percent of users boycotting ads through the use of ad blockers, the paper underscores key issues which are pushing users to the breaking point. Collectively, these issues highlight the need for restraint and meaningful self-regulation. OTA asserts anti-ad blockers are not the answer.

“We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room; the advertising industry must address the mounting issues to avoid an ad meltdown,” said Craig Spiezle, executive director and president of the Online Trust Alliance. “The current trajectory is not sustainable and risks disenfranchising millions of users worldwide who depend on online services which are currently funded by advertising.”

OTA states that while the vast majority of ads are not obtrusive, unsafe or insecure, a minority are tainting the overall perception of the industry. To insure vitality and innovation in digital marketing, OTA advocates the need to holistically address ads:

  • User Experience
  • Transparency
  • Impact to Device Performance
  • Security
  • Privacy

OTA notes that recent industry efforts to improve user experience and help decrease security risks are encouraging, but they appear to be insular and fragmented. OTA calls for the ad industry to start an inclusive multi-stakeholder effort to develop a comprehensive set of industry best practices that lead to an enforceable code of conduct for advertisements. Stakeholders would include but not be limited to publishers, advertisers and ad tech providers, the security community, and privacy and consumer advocates.

As an aid to the industry, OTA provides tools and recommended best practices to help address malvertising, privacy and native advertising issues. The white paper and related best practices are posted at

About OTA: 

The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) is a non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust and user empowerment while promoting innovation and the vitality of the Internet. Its goal is to help educate businesses, policy makers and stakeholders while developing and advancing best practices and tools to enhance the protection of users’ security, privacy and identity. OTA supports collaborative public-private partnerships, benchmark reporting, and meaningful self-regulation and data stewardship. Its members and supporters include leaders spanning the public policy, technology, ecommerce, social networking, mobile, email and interactive marketing, financial, service provider, government agency and industry organization sectors.

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