Specific Media: Out of the NAI doghouse?

August 18, 2010

More than six months ago,¬†Specific Media was the sole ad delivery company singled out as having potential compliance issues in the NAI’s 2009 report (discussed in an earlier post).

The company just updated their privacy policy in two respects:

  • Adopted a 12 month maximum retention period for user data (nice work!).
  • Added a very interesting disclosure about the use of browser caching to store user IDs (more in this in a future post).

I can only speculate that these changes are related to the successful completion of Specific Media’s compliance review. The fact that we don’t really know is instructive — and disappointing — for the self-regulatory effort. The NAI should have been more clear about the nature of Specific Media’s issue, and should have published an update that clarifies the issue in detail and how it was remedied. If no issue was found, that should be clear as well.

Let’s face it: One reason self-regulation is failing to win more supporters is that many view it as an unnatural act for an organization of companies to police the behavior of its own members. Compliance failures will happen, and when they do they need to be visible and the oversight response needs to be completely transparent. Nothing would inspire more confidence in self-regulation than really putting a company in the doghouse from time to time — in a way that advertisers, partners and consumers can’t miss.

2 Responses to “Specific Media: Out of the NAI doghouse?”


  1. […] more attention than they would have liked in the last several months. One issue highlighted in a prior post was SM’s use of local cache storage for unique user IDs — which, like a Flash cookie, […]


  2. […] Compliance criteria and failures should be transparent. […]


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