Feb 222011
 February 22, 2011  Posted by  Business

Ernan Roman writes:

Most Web users are surprised, and then alarmed, when they realize how closely marketers scrutinize their online activities. That alarm has triggered a new and powerful consumer privacy movement, one that has led to an impassioned national debate: Should marketers be able to track consumer’s online behavior without explicit permission from the people they are tracking?

I believe that this debate is focused on the wrong question.

The real issue is not whether we, as marketers, should give consumers the opportunity to “opt-out” of tracking technology that monitors their actions. The Do Not Track movement reflects not merely a policy question, but rather a turning point in the evolution of the Internet. It is a seismic shift that will leave some companies on the proverbial “ash heap of history.”

If we hope to survive and thrive in today’s market environment, where consumers have more power than at any time in human history, the question we really should be asking is this: What should marketers do to motivate consumers to make a conscious decision to “opt-in”?

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