Friday, April 24, 2009
About "privacy policies" and blogs
Visitors should be aware of an industry document “Network Advertising Initiative: Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Preference Marketing by Network Advertisers” here.
Given economic conditions, the Internet industry is targeting ads more specifically by geographical area or sometimes by the analysis of tracking cookies, which may show an interest pattern, and sometimes by the presence of certain software on a computer, like Flash. As a result, online publishers are expected to provide more information to visitors who may want to opt out of certain practices. This has actually been the case since early 2008, although there has been little general awareness and almost no informal discussion of it in the blogging community.
I had previously believed that I did not need to state such a policy because I don’t currently require users to log on (as with passwords and security questions) or create accounts, and I don’t process any personal information at all (like credit cards); all my e-commerce is outsourced to other sites like Amazon and iUniverse. However, I do need to state a simple policy now given the current environment. I guess that's a bit of playing "brother's keeper."
A basic technical primer is here. I see that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is cautionary about this whole development in the marketing world, as with this link.
The visitor can read more about Google’s DoubleClick DART cookie here, and there are references there as to how to opt out of use.
In general, it’s important to remember that “Madison Avenue” is important to the Internet world of today. Even publishers that offer no ads (and some of my other sites and pages do not) are subsidized in a sense by those who do conduct business, and that is an important component of the “free entry” model common today (the other cornerstones of free entry are, of course, Section 230 and, like it or not, the DMCA Safe Harbor).
Many industries, especially in fashion (and especially in LGBT publications) are getting more mileage out of the technical and aesthetic quality of the advertisements. This holds also for motion picture trailers (although I get annoyed by DVD’s that make you take the time to watch previews from the distributor). There needs to be educational and real entertainment value in the advertisement itself for the whole business model to work.
Here's another resource, Privacy Choice (see comment).