Feb 122013
 February 12, 2013  Online

Antone Gonsalves writes:

What if two-thirds of the people on the Web were invisible, secretly visiting websites and searching for products and services while leaving Internet giants like Google and Facebook in the dark about what they were doing?

With no information on those people’s activities, there could be no targeted advertising for them and much of the multi-billion-dollar ad Web market would collapse, forcing big changes in the business models of today’s biggest and most powerful Internet companies.

While such a scenario won’t come to pass overnight, a new study by market researcher Ovum indicates that millions of people could start “vanishing” from the Web within a few years, causing major disruptions to the Internet economy. The reason so many people may go data dark? Privacy concerns.

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