Friday, April 01, 2011
"Do Not Track" debate is still treading in uncertainty
But on March 30, David Daw, of PC World, provided a more balanced picture on “The State of 'Do Not Track' on the Internet” here. He discusses the idea that “Do Not Track” can evolved into a mechanism where users can fine-tune their advertising experience, and let more trustworthy sites do some behavioral adverting in areas of their interest. But the voluntary aspect of much of the DNT mechanism still leaves a lot unsettled. The article was recently reproduced with permission on Electronic Frontier Foundation's site as a feature story.
One question is how it would affect “amateur” content, such as much of that on blogging platforms (not so much those embedded in Social Media, where the recipient lists are specific and the business model takes nuanced privacy controls into account). In a future web environment, many home users may not allow less established sites to be supported by “behavior-based” advertising, which could eventually affect the incentive for service providers to offer free or low-cost blogging platforms (even to bloggers to don’t accept ads or expect ad revenue, who may well be in the majority anyway – for many years, I had no advertising on my flat sites, “doaskdotell” and “hppub”; I did experiment with Linkshare back around 2002, with very limited success). On the other hand, many have pointed out that behavioral advertising is still relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, as keywords and content (and geo-location of IP addresses or mobile devices) still can effectively generate selection of ads that many users really want to see. I have to admit that the car I now own (a silvery-looking 2009 Ford Focus) had been “pre-conditioned” in my brain by web browsing in the months that proceeded its purchase.