Small Businesses Mobilize as House Committee Considers Anti-Advertising Bill

Internet for Growth, the nationwide small business coalition supporting digital advertising, is warning Congress that anti-advertising provisions in the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA), scheduled for review at a House Energy and Commerce hearing today, could harm economic growth and jobs across the country.

“The proposed legislation includes specific language that threatens the ability of Americans to start and grow businesses through data-driven digital advertising. Although intended to protect consumers, the sweeping restrictions could inadvertently raise consumer costs at a time when many are still grappling with inflation,” writes Brendan Thomas, Executive Director of Internet for Growth, in a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee members overseeing the bill.

“The proliferation of affordable, accessible advertising options is vital for the growth of America’s small businesses across various media platforms. The unintended consequences of APRA could negatively impact the livelihoods of our members and stifle U.S. innovation, jobs, and economic growth.”

Internet for Growth members visited Washington, D.C. during National Small Business Week this month to share their success stories, thanks to low-cost digital advertising, with House and Senate offices. Small businesses and online creators also shared their concerns about policies that could eliminate ordinary data and advertising practices that help them save time and money and reach potential customers with relevant information.

Studies show small businesses unable to afford traditional advertising rely on online advertising, and consumers appreciate data-dependent, personalized marketing and media.  Internet for Growth includes small online publishers and developers earning income with advertising revenue.

APRA would “undermine the speed and convenience that people value most about the internet,” writes Thomas.  “It targets personalized advertising—the most valuable and cost-effective form—potentially restricting companies from promoting products to their own customers.”

“In addition to small businesses, a wide array of non-profits, charities, and advocacy groups rely on digital advertising to raise awareness and engage supporters. Digital advertising is essential for candidates and causes to connect with voters… We urge the House Energy and Commerce Committee to carefully consider the benefits of data-driven digital advertising, marketing, and media to our economy, culture, and society.”

Internet for Growth has organized nearly 100 meetings and events with members of Congress to familiarize policymakers with accessible, affordable, easy-to-use digital advertising tools on an increasing number of media and marketing platforms. The organization supports a national data privacy law to overcome a patchwork of state laws and reduce costs for small businesses and their customers.

Internet for Growth, an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), promotes the crucial role digital advertising plays in the success of America’s small businesses, helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. With the support of over 700 IAB members including marketers, agencies, publishers, and technology providers, as well as hundreds of small businesses and creators, we highlight the benefits of digital advertising to local economies, expanding opportunities for people of all backgrounds. Our work ensures policymakers in Washington understand the limitless opportunity the ad-supported internet provides for creativity, commerce, fair competition, and community.