Acceptable Ads Committee announces new President

Dear AAC members and blog followers,

As indicated in our recent communications, last year, after nearly 4 years in the volunteer role of President of the AAC, I recommended to the AAC’s board that we begin a search for my successor.

Upon discussing with the board, we agreed that, for the first time in the AAC’s history, we should undertake to bring on a permanent, paid President.

Starting in late 2021, we began a rigorous search and vetting process to find the AAC’s next President. We evaluated dozens of extremely qualified and impressive candidates, ranging from industry luminaries to passionate adblock users working in the online advertising industry.

After much deliberation, in late Q2 of this year, we finally arrived at a unanimous choice: as of today, the AAC’s new President is Terry Taouss.

Terry’s background is extremely impressive. Trained as a corporate lawyer, Terry was an early employee at a fast-growing advertising technology startup, which was acquired by Centro and became Basis DSP, a top-10 global ad-buying platform. Following the acquisition, Terry served as Basis DSP’s Managing Director for nearly 4 years before moving to a role as Principal at AdProfs, one of the online advertising industry’s most well-respected advisory firms.

Those credentials on their own made Terry a very attractive candidate; however, the clincher for many of us on the AAC’s board was Terry’s longtime history as an adblock user and his vision for a sustainable Web. He intimately understands the reasons why users download ad-blocking or ad-filtering software, and his professional background also gave him deep insight into the motivations of online publishers and advertisers.

In short, Terry is the whole package. I could not be more thrilled about the future of the AAC under Terry, and I’m excited to continue serving as a board member of the AAC under Terry’s leadership.

In my last couple blog posts (1, 2), I talked about how proud I am of what we’ve accomplished at the AAC since 2018… I strongly believe that it will pale in comparison to what the AAC will achieve in the years to come.

Over to you, Terry.

– Marty Kratky-Katz, outgoing President of the AAC

Introducing Terry Taouss

My name is Terry Taouss and I am excited to serve as the new President of the Acceptable Ads Committee. 

I accepted this role because I believe that the digital media industry is at an inflection point. Over the past decade, I have witnessed our industry create incredible ways for people to communicate, to educate, to entertain, and to form relationships. In doing so, many massive businesses have been built. But, somewhere along the way, we lost track of the fact that creating an enjoyable user experience is the reason that our industry is so enmeshed in everyday life. We prioritized revenue over what users want and the result was predictable: users became overwhelmed with intrusive, annoying ads. So much so that without an intervention, the entire system was at risk.  

That intervention thankfully started a decade ago. Today, there are more than 800 million internet users that have installed an ad blocker and reclaimed their right to choose their optimal browsing experience. Many of them have done so in a way that supports the commercial realities of the digital media industry. Over 200 million ad block users have chosen to see non-intrusive ads that adhere to the Acceptable Ads Standard. They have chosen to sustain the balance upon which the digital media industry was built. We believe that the number of ad filtering users will continue to grow in the future.

The Acceptable Ads Committee oversees and maintains the Acceptable Ads Standard. It provides clear and actionable guidelines to the industry that define the advertising that is acceptable to users. But it also has the ability to act as a model for a user-centric and sustainable ‘open web‘. Over the coming months, I will be sharing more information on how we will continue to develop Acceptable Ads, but at this time I want to articulate 3 guiding principles that will underpin the work of the Committee:

  • Maintain a sustainable balance. Like all complex systems, the internet requires that its participants – internet users, publishers, advertisers, and others – interact in a manner that allows each of them to meet their needs over time. These needs evolve as the system evolves. The Acceptable Ads Committee must balance those sometimes-competing needs with the interests of the system as a whole to ensure that it remains sustainable.
  • Evolve an evidence-supported standard that puts the user first. The Acceptable Ads Committee is the only ad industry body that allows direct user representation. This is vitally important as our mandate is to serve and support the needs of all internet participants – but to always start from the vantage point of the user. The Acceptable Ad Standard supports user’s choice and is based on empirical data derived from sound research.
  • Remain uncompromisingly fair and trustworthy. We understand that participants are putting their faith in the Acceptable Ads Committee to act in the best interest of all stakeholders. Accordingly, the Acceptable Ads Committee commits to evolve and apply the Standard in a manner that is transparent, consistent, and impartial.

One of my goals as President is to foster an active internet citizenship; that is, to have an engaged and diverse group of members that contribute to the development of an open web that enriches all of our lives. I look forward to working with all of you to do so.

Sincerely,

– Terry Taouss, President of the AAC

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