IABWhen I was talking to a friend\’s husband months ago, he asked me what mobileStorm did. I told him, \”We provide technology that helps companies send out marketing messages.\” He said, \”Oh, like spam and telemarketing calls?\” and proceeded to go off on one such annoying call he\’d recently received. It took a while before he registered my cries of, \”Permission-based! Permission-based!\”

It\’s because of such worriers like him that pressure to regulate consumer privacy is high, especially considering the growth of behaviorally-targeted Internet ads, social network use by minors, and the now-common use of SMS. But the Interactive Advertising Bureau is keen to prove to U.S. lawmakers that self-regulation among legitimate marketers is a much better way to combat abuse than would be the passage of increasingly more laws. The IAB is currently wondering how – and if – it should enforce best practices among all marketers.

\”We think it\’s time to expand some self-regulation. We\’re still in the research phase\”¦ We\’re looking to see if we should partner with a third-party enforcement group,\” IAB vice-president of public policy Mike Zaneis said in a ClickZ story. He also said that the trade organization is in regular talks with Truste, the Web site and application validator; the Media Ratings Council; and the National Advertising Review Council.\”

While some marketers may begrudge the IAB of too much power, to me its would-be authority seems the lesser of too evils. Violation of privacy, or at least the perception of it, is one of the biggest hurdles that digital marketers face. But most of us will agree that the best way to address this obstacle is to practice and promote best practices.

Contrast that with excessive laws which, while well-intentioned, could harm more than hurt. For example, a statute enacted in one state, such as one regarding behavioral targeting proposed in New York, would affect marketers in all states, and indeed the world, because of the no-borders nature of the Internet.

Government could, of course, patrol the borders – but then you\’d end up with censorship, something that the majority of consumers will find even less appealing. Not to mention another type of privacy invasion.

Eydie Cubarrubia
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
“I’d rather you text me”