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IAB Issues Final Guidelines for Use of Pop-Up Advertisements

Industry Achieves Consensus for Frequency Cap for Pop-Up and Pop-Unders

New York, NY (Sept. 20, 2004) – Following a two-month feedback period, the IAB’s Pop-Up Task Force today announced the final guidelines and best practices for the use of pop-up and pop-under advertisements. Details will be posted on the IAB website and an educational program will rolled out around these specifications to the advertising industry. Survey participants voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the IAB’s proposed guidelines issued in April 2004.

Key findings from the feedback include support for the frequency cap stating that each user should be exposed to no more than one pop-up ad for each visit to an online site. This is critical for consumers, as research has shown this to be a key issue in a users experience with the ads. In addition, all pop-ups and pop-unders must display a close box and audio/visual elements must be user-initiated. The voluntary guidelines are supported by many of the leading interactive media companies.

“Consumers spoke, publishers spoke, advertisers spoke and we listened,” said Adam Gelles, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB. “With time spent online on a continuous upward trajectory, the onus is on industry to enact the right foundation on which we will build-out the business. We’re hopeful that these guidelines will address the needs of all stakeholders, offering clarity and specificity to agencies and their clients and most importantly, an improved user experience for consumers.”

The pop-up and pop-under guidelines are self-regulatory, and intend to improve consumer perception of pop-ups through applying consistency in their use, specifications and labeling. In addition, these new parameters will lend efficiency to the online ad creation and buying processes by providing advertisers and their agencies the ability to develop both responsible and consistent advertising content.

After reviewing industry feedback, buyer needs, ad effectiveness and user acceptance research, the IAB is recommending the following set of guidelines and definitions for pop-up/under advertising:

The Task Force is led by Rich LeFurgy, Archer Advisors and Scot McLernon, CBS MarketWatch. Participating companies include: About, Inc., Adtegrity, Advertising.com, Archer Advisors, AOL, BizRate.com, CBS Sportsline, CNET Networks, CondeNét,, Electronic Arts, Fastclick, Focus Interactive, Forbes.com, Homestore.com, Interpolls, MSN, MTV Networks, New York Times Digital, Terra Lycos, Traffic Marketplace, Reuters, Unicast, United Virtualities, ValueClick, Viewpoint, Wall Street Journal Online, Walt Disney Internet Group, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, weather.com and Yahoo!

The IAB does not condone nor endorse any online ad format. With respect to voluntary guidelines, it suggests thoughtful and well-researched recommendations that will improve the overall online ad business.

About the IAB
Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) represents leading interactive companies that are actively engaged in, and support the sale of interactive advertising. IAB members are responsible for selling over 86% of online advertising in the United States. IAB member companies include: AOL, CNET Networks, DoubleClick, Forbes.com, Google, MSN, The Wall Street Journal Online, The Walt Disney Internet Group, Yahoo! and over 180 others. On behalf of its members, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices, fields interactive effectiveness research and educates the advertising industry regarding the use of interactive advertising. For more information please visit www.iab.net.
Marla Nitke IAB