After more than ten years, the Standard Terms & Conditions for Internet Advertising used by most participants in the advertising industry will finally be revised – the most commonly used version (version 3.0) was last updated in 2010.   This effort is being led by a joint task force comprised of the leading industry trade bodies -  the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), to reflect the input of all stakeholders, including advertisers, agencies, publishers, and ad tech companies.  The stated goals for the revised terms are to address changes in the marketplace, reduce friction in the contracting process and streamline the digital media buying process.   

“While the previous work in this area remains the industry standard over a decade later, simply too much has changed for us to not revisit,” IAB CEO David Cohen said in a statement as part of the  IAB’s press release announcing the initiative.

Undoubtedly, the new terms will account for the various privacy and data protection laws and regulations that have been enacted since the terms were last updated, as well as address many of the other priorities stakeholders have been focused on in recent years, including the proliferation of new ad formats and increase in programmatic and targeted media buying, the prevention of fraudulent ad traffic, ensuring brand safety, and aligning on the proper uses of ad tags/tracking technologies and consistent measurement principles to assess campaign performance across multiple platforms (e.g., viewability, ad verification, etc.).   

This is certainly welcome (and dare I say, exciting?!) news for all the legal and business personnel who work regularly in this space, as the current buying process is frustratingly inefficient, often requiring the drafting and negotiation of lengthy addendums to the Standard Terms and Conditions, or the use of custom agreements for each different platform and non-standard use case.  I plan to be involved in the Task Force’s efforts to revise the Standard Terms and will keep you informed of any updates.