Behavioral Targeting and the Privacy Debate
From credit card companies that rate based upon where you shop, to pay-per-click advertisements based upon Google searches, behavioral targeting has become an ubiquitous, if effective marketing tool. This issue has become a hot button topic for many publishers, advertisers, and privacy protection groups like the IAB and NAI. Even the FTC in Washington has taken an interest.
Critics are concerned whether or not behavioral tracking agencies are effectively disclosing how the targeting works, and whether or not they are offering consumers the ability to escape their radar by opting out of tracking. Despite numerous discussions on the regulation of behavioral marketing, no solution has been found that satisfies all parties.
Until this point, privacy disclosure enforcement has fallen to the networks, behavioral marketing publishers, and providers. While some progressive efforts toward transparency have been made, there is still a long way to go. Advertisers, however, have not met any restrictions, while at the same time reaping an obvious benefit. It is long past the time for advertisers to disclose their behavioral marketing practices, and allow customers the option not to participate. There is a lot of debate on the most appropriate way to do this. Some options are to tag each ad with an opt out feature, or to place a disclaimer on the manufacturer’s page, with a full explanation.
There is still no solution on how the advertisers can best disclose this information.