The two John’s (Kerry & McCain) are introducing a bill in the US that’ll give web users the right to demand they not be tracked online.
Yes, Uncle Sam hates cookies.
“The bipartisan legislation would allow consumers to demand particular websites stop tracking and selling their online behavior. As it now stands, internet surfers are bound by lengthy and often hidden terms-of-service agreements by which a company dictates how their surfing habits and data will be used.” (wired.com)
My view is that there’s going to be some truly weird and wonderful statements coming out out of the big browser boys (IE, Mozilla, Apple) over the coming weeks, as this bill gets debated.
These statements will be driven by the need for browers to drive customer monetisation for these companies.
For example: if I run a publisher ad network, or own a few websites that generate revenues from ads, I need to be 100% certain that the people who are paying for the ads (the advertisers) are getting the data that they need to keep themsleves informed regarding ROI. In other words, are my ads working, and do I have the information that I need to make further informed buying decisions?
If a piece of legislation (and ultimately, functionality) is introduced that allows the average ‘net savvy Joe, to opt-out of their details being stored and used for online targeting, how do I know how a) effective my online advertising is b) which half of my spend that I’ve wasted (love that quote, thanks to John Wannamaker).
The companies that own the browsers, need you to use their browser for your surfing, so that they can monetise you, through the halo effect on their own products – or their own advertising services to 3rd parties. Let’s face it, say you are Google, and you made 97% of your revenue from online advertising and that amounted to $7.2 billion in a single quarter – you’d be pretty keen to continue to be able to track the behaviour of customers that ultimately paid for that.
Any by the way, that’s not just search advertsing revenue – 30% of that revenue comes form Google’s own ad network – so opt-out for tracking would be bad news. Ergo, just wait and see how they are going to react to this, in terms of some truly weird & wonderful statements flip-flopping about how “…find the concept interesting…but it hasn’t been properly tested…etc”.
ie: “…we find it interesting that you’d hit us in the pocket, interesting like a punch in the face…
Read more on this at the truly wonderful Wired Magazine.