Jan 072011
 January 7, 2011  Posted by  Business, Laws

Kevin Lee writes, in part:

Most people concur that the online ad industry has done a really poor job of educating consumers and providing disclosure that is clear, obvious, and easy to find. Privacy policies are nonsense. Are we really that surprised that the government (legislative and regulatory bodies) is stepping in? How will this all shake out? Current prevailing wisdom is that the implementation for most of the privacy protecting and disclosure enhancing measures will be within the browsers (IE and Firefox in particular).


What perplexes me is that the Internet marketing industry let the privacy and tracking disclosure issue get this far. Banner advertising (the biggest area of privacy concern) has sufficient room for a visible and understandable interactive privacy and tracking area. While the IAB/NAI initiatives and those of some other display advertising providers represent a step in the right direction, it’s my opinion that 20 to 25 percent of every banner ad served should include an interactive, clickable notification area advising users as to the nature of any tracking that is in place or will take place as a result of the ad being shown or interacted with, along with instructions on how to change preferences (until such time as browsers become the dashboard controlling such changes).

I’m cautiously optimistic that consumers and legislators will realize that once consumers are empowered with the knowledge about what information an ad network, analytics provider, publisher, or marketer has on them, most will leave well enough alone and prefer targeted ads to untargeted ads. Time will tell.

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