by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 31st 2007 11:34pm
Just as Facebook is looking to launch its own behavioral advertising network, AOL and some privacy groups are pitching the idea of a "Do Not Track" list that would effectively let people opt-out of behavioral advertising tracking. It's a challenging issue to deal with. Advertisers, obviously, want more data and information about who is viewing their ads, as well as having the ability to better target those ads. At the same time, the theory is that people are much more receptive to highly targeted, relevant ads. The problem, though, is that many internet surfers have no idea how much information they're handing over and how it's being used (and many would argue that the more relevant ads aren't actually appearing). If they knew how much data was being collected, however, many would probably be quite upset. The purpose of the Do Not Track list would be to give them back some control. Advertisers, of course, won't like this idea at all, as they often feel it's their divine right to have as much information as possible. They'll also complain that without this data, advertisements will actually be less relevant and less useful -- which might actually be true. In the end, though, it seems like while a "Do Not Track" may get lots of publicity, but how many people will actually sign up? Certainly I'd expect techies who are more concerned about this kind of thing to sign up -- but the average consumer? Unlike the "Do Not Call" list, most people don't even realize that they're being tracked, and so are much less likely to have the incentive to opt out of being tracked.
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