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2012 BLOG POSTS

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September 25, 2012

Digital Advertising Alliance Seeks to Protect Consumer Choice and a Diversified Internet

With all the current attention on Do-Not-Track and Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, it’s important to also emphasize what proactive initiatives are underway at Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to keep consumers’ online experiences relevant, diversified and focused on empowerment.

This Fall is a critical time for DAA, as there are several areas where we’re seeking to protect the rights of consumers and brand advertisers to connect and engage, while providing online publishers with advertising revenue that serves to finance their businesses and enable editorial content for the digital public.

Let’s catalog some of these initiatives at DAA.

First is transparency:  the importance of consumer education – explaining why interest-based advertisements exist, and how they are served – is our highest priority.  This past week, the YourAdChoices.com site recorded and surpassed its 11 millionth unique visit.  Additionally, the Direct Marketing Association and the Council of Better Business Bureau (CBBB) are charged with consumer complaint resolution and enforcement, and the CBBB has executed investigations and resolved 12 consumer complaints alone.

Increasingly, Web experiences are mobile experiences. The screen may be a personal computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. Interest-based advertising may appear on any internet-viewing device,...

September 19, 2012

Empowering the Consumer in the Online Data Conversation

In a recent Adweek contribution [Subscription Required] (September 10), a representative from Microsoft explained why the company decided to turn on a “Do Not Track” (DNT) feature in its latest version of Internet Explorer browser, Version 10, which arrives this fall.  Microsoft is making a huge mistake – and setting a dangerous precedent – that seems to say “information” has no role to play in our “information economy.”

Let’s make this perfectly clear:  DNT accelerates and fans the flames of fear and confusion in the advertising community and with consumers. It may be a good sound bite, but it is a poor policy for the long-term health of the ad-supported internet and relevant advertising. Generic advertising here we come!   

Critics of interest-based ads state that, at least in the past, consumers had been in the dark about how online advertisers use data. The trouble is that Microsoft’s DNT decision (or, for that matter, any browser’s similar implementation) doesn’t correct the situation. It exacerbates it.

Why not educate consumers about interest-based ads, and give them their own choice to opt-out, or opt-down?  That’s what we do on the Digital Advertising Alliance site, YourAdChoices.com, and millions of consumers have visited this free...

September 17, 2012

Spotlight: The New York Times Explores Do-Not-Track

Microsoft is making a “radical” move, reports Natasha Singer of The New York Times this past weekend (“When the Privacy Button is Already Pressed,” September 15, 2012), but unfortunately it’s not the right move for privacy, consumers and certainly not the digital community.  When one of the nation’s leading news sources sheds light on the Do-Not-Track (DNT) debate that makes for a lively conversation.  Let’s see where this discussion was illuminated properly – and where it may need further clarification.

First, the story clearly points out that consumers – today – already have privacy options available on most of the major browsers (among them, Microsoft Internet Explorer’s current version) where they can actively choose to manage privacy choices.

Second, the story correctly points out that the Digital Advertising Alliance’s consumer education and choice solution – YourAdChoices.com – also enables such choices. This self-regulation, too, has been heralded by the Federal Trade Commission with further support expressed by The White House.

Third, Microsoft’s decision to turn on the Do-Not-Track choice as a default in the forthcoming Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) means that the entire digital ecosystem, which uses information in a de-...

September 14, 2012

DAA in AdMonsters: Do Not Track Default Setting in Microsoft IE10 To Violate Protocols

As the clock ticks closer toward Microsoft’s planned Version 10 release of Internet Explorer (IE10), and its Do-Not-Track (DNT) default setting which violates the World Wide Web Consortium consensus and standard, the digital community is amplifying its protest.

The Digital Advertising Alliance posted this opinion piece recently on AdMonsters. I share it with you here, “The Risks Behind Microsoft’s Default DNT Setting”:  https://www.admonsters.com/risks-behind-microsofts-default-dnt-setting/

Microsoft purports to protect consumer privacy in IE10, but in truth undermines any chance of relevance in advertising on the ad-supported internet. And in doing so, Microsoft does not and cannot extend any supposed consumer privacy protections since its DNT setting is not enforced, and is not in compliance with the global consensus.  Alternatively, consumers do enjoy choice and privacy by way of reviewing information, opting out or opting down through our site https://YourAdChoices.com – which 10 million consumers have visited to date. Last month, 1 trillion Advertising Choices Icons were served, linking interested individuals to this site.

Microsoft (and any browser for that matter) has a choice – and it has remained steadfast to date:  IE10 will violate internet protocol for DNT, and...

September 12, 2012

IE10: Apache Shows the Holes in Microsoft’s DNT Decisions

Microsoft’s decision to make Do Not Track (DNT) the default setting in its forthcoming version of Internet Explorer (IE10) upset advertisers and ad tech companies from the start, but the unrest seems to have spread now to the coders and publishers themselves.

Developers of the Apache Web server, one of the most popular servers in use today, have built a patch that ignores Microsoft’s DNT signal when consumers visit a page using IE10. Roy Fielding, the patch’s developer and a cofounder of Apache, believes that most sites will ignore Microsoft’s DNT signal, and Microsoft already know this. As a result, IE users will be surprised to learn that their browser may be purporting to block data collection, but may, in fact, not be doing so. “The decision to set DNT by default in IE10 has nothing to do with the user's privacy,” he wrote.

He’s correct in that assessment. Microsoft’s DNT implementation is not an effective privacy mechanism, and from where I sit, it’s clearly not a strategy that educates consumers or gives them choice. What Microsoft is doing is spreading a fear that any kind of data collection is inherently wrong. If no site honors IE10’s signal, then Microsoft isn’t really doing anything...

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