Small businesses flood congress with support for digital advertising

Internet for Growth campaign rises in response to online advertising bans

March 2, 2022

Washington, DC — Small businesses and entrepreneurs from across the country have sent more than 5,200 letters to congressional leaders opposing the “Banning Surveillance Advertising Act,” one of several bills a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee discussed this week at a hearing entitled “Holding Big Accountable: Legislation to Protect Online Users.”  

Internet for Growth, a coalition of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and creators, organized the letter-writing campaign. Its members support a federal data privacy law that protects consumer data, while helping small businesses to compete in today’s digital economy. 

The “Banning Surveillance Advertising Act” (H.R. 6416) would raise advertising costs and jeopardize 17 million internet-related U.S. jobs, mostly at small businesses and among the self-employed. Yesterday’s hearing included no representatives from the advertising industry or small business owners who rely on the ad-supported internet to promote their products and services, serve customers, and create value.  

The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection’s Representative Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) underscored the point. “H.R. 6416 will burden the small and medium-sized enterprises that are looking to gain entry into a market that heavily relies on advertising to be successful,” she said. “The niche products created by innovators looking to capitalize the American Dream will not be able to grow or even survive under this legislation… I know [my colleagues] care about protecting Americans’ privacy, but let’s not do it at the expense of small businesses.” 

“The hearing revolved around a few big companies, a sure sign Congress is overlooking ordinary Americans who will struggle to earn a living if this legislation ever passes,” said Brendan Thomas, Executive Director of Internet for Growth. 

 “One of the reasons we saw a boom in start-ups during a difficult year in 2021 is because data-driven advertising supports free email, search, and other services that enable businesses to engage online communities,” he said. “Partisan debates about Big Tech, global politics, and surveillance advertising have nothing to do with kitchen table issues they care about.”  

“Calling it ‘surveillance’ is just a fear tactic. The internet is built on the exchange of information.” 

Small businesses and individually owned firms represent the largest share of internet-related jobs and depend on data and digital advertising to survive. Federal legislators can help by working on clear and workable rules that protect consumer information and support continued innovation. 


About Internet for Growth 

Internet for Growth, an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, supports the transformative role the advertising-supported internet plays in empowering America’s small businesses, helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. Supported by a diverse community of over 700 IAB members including marketers, agencies, publishers, platforms and ad tech providers, as well as hundreds of small businesses and creators, we highlight the benefits the internet delivers to local economies, expanding opportunities for innovators to reach markets far beyond their neighborhoods. Our work ensures people understand the limitless opportunity the internet provides for creativity and commerce, fair competition, and connecting with consumers on mutually shared values and interests, no matter the background or geography. 

For media inquiries please contact: 

Brendan Thomas 

[email protected]