The advertising community is abuzz about Microsoft’s recent controversial decision to make a Do Not Track (DNT) the default header in its newest browser, Internet Explorer 10. Other browsers also have the DNT option, but it is disabled by default. The Microsoft move was unexpected and unwelcome by the ad industry, which has been making substantial progress in developing a self-regulatory framework.
Support for DNT as a consumer privacy mechanism is widespread in the industry, but most believe that further development is necessary to maintain consistency amongst all browsers, and to allow standardized, fine-grained control over who can track and who cannot. This joint development is important for the industry players to support the capability overall.
SpotXchange is a member of the two industry organizations that are leading the charge in creating this framework -- the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The DAA and IAB believe that the best way to provide the most compelling user experiences digitally to empower consumers to make their own choices online. Taking input from all major online companies, consumer groups, government agencies and privacy advocates, this industry framework provides consumers with upgraded notice and choice while maintaining the ability for marketers and advertisers to locate and analyze online consumers based on aggregated and anonymous data. The advertising industry has already developed the foundation for audit and enforcement, without which any “DNT only” solution is destined to remain stuck at the starting line.
Perhaps Microsoft feels the industry coalition is moving too slowly and they wanted to spur more progress, or perhaps they see the PR benefit to "being on the side of the consumer." In the bigger picture, however, the online ad industry was already on the side of the consumer, working to balance consumer privacy with keeping the majority of online content free and relevant. By eschewing careful and thoughtful progress toward a common and trusted advertising environment, Microsoft has essentially taken a step closer to throwing the baby out with the bath water.
-Michael Griffiths, VP Data Products and Analytics, SpotXchange