This week, The Register had an article with a headline that highlights the consequences of years of advertisers failing to honor Do Not Track (DNT) requests, W3C’s failed Do Not Track crusade tumbles to ad-blockers’ Vietnam. Scott Gilbertson reports:
Your browser can broadcast the DNT header to websites all it likes, but it’s up to the goodwill of the sites to honour it. It’s a bit like politely asking the wolf not to eat the sheep.
Users don’t want to be tracked, but neither do they seem willing to pay for content. If there’s no revenue, there’s no content.
What the web really needs is some magical third way. In lieu of that, DNT could have offered a middle road for the time being. Instead, so far, it has been an abject failure.
Still, it’s not users who need to lament the failure of DNT. It’s the advertisers – and by extension, publishers – who missed an opportunity. By failing to support DNT, the advertising industry is going to end up getting something with much more far-reaching consequences – ad blockers.
Indeed. I use proxies and change their location over times. I use Ghostery. And if a site doesn’t work with Ghostery (e.g., a well-known site with their stupid “Thought of the Day” screen), I stop reading that site. I’m willing to pay for privacy, but I’m not willing to trade my privacy for free content.
People who block ads still shop online. But I look for ads and information when I want to/am ready to shop. I do not want advertisers tracking me and I do not want to be quoted higher rates or prices based on profiles an ad network has compiled based on browsing history combined with other data about me.
Does my approach mean I miss some free content? Absolutely. And you know what? I can live with that.