WOMMA Releases Social Media Marketing Privacy Guidelines

Thursday, January 19, 2012



Word of Mouth Marketing Association Encourages Transparency and Consumer Choice Applauds FTC Actions Concerning Facebook and Google Privacy

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) today released the WOMMA Guidance on Privacy, a set of self-regulated privacy guidelines that focus on social media and the use of consumer Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

In light of the FTC's recent settlements with Google and Facebook, WOMMA applauds the FTC's efforts to shine the light on this issue and for making transparency a key point. 

While it is not yet clear what effect these developments have had on the online marketing industry - we appreciate the agency's efforts to allow industry leaders to develop effective self-regulatory initiatives, and WOMMA looks forward to working with the FTC on the important issues relating to privacy.

Along with some major brands and agencies, WOMMA and its board of directors have agreed upon a set of core principles for protecting privacy across all marketing and communications channels. WOMMA's Guidance on Privacy are aspirational core principles to follow, and are not mandated or required guidelines for the industry.

WOMMA is the association leading the conversation as to what type of self-regulatory privacy guidelines is appropriate and necessary for advertisers engaged in social media and word of mouth platforms. 

While privacy is a multi-faceted issue, WOMMA believes that transparency and choice are at the heart of establishing and sustaining the meaningful connection between brands and consumers.

Excerpts from WOMMA's Perspective on Privacy:

  • Brands should be open and honest about PII that they are collecting, using and sharing from consumers.
  • Brands should use PII collected from or about consumers for the purposes that they have clearly communicated.
  • Brands should collect PII that is relevant and necessary to accomplish the specified purposes.
  • Brands should not retain PII for longer than necessary to fulfill the specified purposes or to otherwise meet legal requirements.
  • Brands should employ relevant and reasonable measures to protect PII.
  • Brands should be accountable for complying with these principles, by providing consumers with a readily accessible means to express concerns or complaints.

"In the relationship between the advertiser and customer, sensitive information can be transmitted, whether financial or personal," said Anthony DiResta, Partner at Winston & Strawn and WOMMA General Counsel. "It is the sensitivity of that information that creates concerns about privacy, and WOMMA believes that transparency and choice are at the heart of establishing and sustaining the meaningful connection between companies and their customers."

"Privacy is becoming an increasingly important topic for both brands and consumers," said Paul M. Rand, President/CEO of Zocalo Group and WOMMA Immediate Past President. "The principles set forth in WOMMA's Guidance are meant to educate our members and the industry as a whole on key privacy issues, and we look forward to continuing the discussion."


  • WOMMA's Perspective on Privacy: http://womma.org/ethics/privacy_guidance/
  • Q&A with Anthony DiResta: http://womma.org/ethics/privacy_guidance/
  • WOMMA Ethics Code: http://womma.org/ethics

About WOMMA:

WOMMA, http://womma.org, is the leading trade association in the marketing and advertising industries that focuses on word of mouth, consumer-generated and social media platforms -- or marketing techniques that include buzz, viral, community, and influencer marketing, as well as brand blogging. The organization is committed to developing and maintaining appropriate ethical standards for marketers and advertisers engaging in such marketing practices, identifying meaningful measurement standards for such marketing practices, and defining "best practices" for the industry.

Founded in 2004, WOMMA members include marketers and brands that use word of mouth marketing to reinforce their core customers and to reach out to new consumers, agencies that deliver word of mouth services and technologies, researchers that track the word of mouth experience and offline and online practitioners.

Source: http://womma.org

Possibly Related Articles:
Google Facebook Privacy Regulation Social Media Marketing Headlines FTC Guidelines Personally Identifiable Information PII Commerce Department Online Consumers WOMMA
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