Do Not Track List Won't Make Advertisers Happy

from the resistance-is-futile dept

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.

Filed Under: advertising, behavioral targeting, do not track
Companies: aol


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  1. identicon
    Danny, 1 Nov 2007 @ 5:40am

    A fine balance

    Some people don't mind if advertisers know what chapter of the book they are currently reading.

    Some people would prefer advertisers only know what types of books they are into.

    And there are still others that don't want advertisers to even know they read books.



    The fact that people are divided that way (and possibly more) is only going to lead to legal war between advertisers, developers of ad blocking software, and lawyers with internet users having no say in the matter but having to shoulder the burden of the outcomes. Sorry for the rant but my point is that as long there are different perceptions of when data collection gets too close for comfort any "Do Not _____" list will be almost useless.

    And like comment #8 says about loopholes is a valid point to note. I'll bet there are advertisers out there already brainstorming about possible loopholes.

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