Protecting Consumer Choice with Persistent Opt-Outs

September 20, 2013

One question that frequently arises about the Digital Advertising Alliance Consumer Choice Page – the place where consumers can express individualized or program-wide choice about whether or not to receive interest-based ads – is how to “harden” these choices so that they persist even if consumers clear cookies on their computers.  The answer is to use another feature that’s been offered on our Consumer Choice Page since early 2012:  Protect My Choices.

The digital ad networks that serve ads on behalf of their client brands place cookies on users’ computers that enable user inferences and interests to enable a more relevant ad to be served to the consumer, as this video on our site explains:

The DAA’s Consumer Choice preferences program also relies on browser cookies to remember users’ opt out choices. Except what happens when a consumer accidentally or deliberately deletes his or her cookies?  Do the preferences then get deleted, too?

The answer is that these preferences do get deleted – but not if users install the “Protect My Choices” browser plug-ins for their particular browser:

The DAA’s “Protect My Choices” feature uses browser-based plug-ins for Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox – so that when individuals using these browsers express their opt-out choices, those choices then are then “hardened” against deletion – and the opt-out choices expressed in cookies are preserved.

By using Protect My Choices, an individual’s expressed preferences on our Consumer Choice page are, in short order, protected from accidental cookie clearance. For Google, Microsoft and Mozilla users, these plug-ins can be an important additional step in the interest-based ads opt-out process.  Users may still receive online advertising, but their opt-out preferences will be respected.

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