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Would ‘Do Not Track’ Legislation Impact Your Marketing Efforts?

Do Not TrackAccording to an article from AdWeek there is some renewed interest in getting ‘Do Not Track’ legislation pushed through that would give consumers the chance to sign up for a ‘Do Not Call’ type exemption from online tracking.

The article tells us

Do Not Track legislation is poised to make a big comeback this Congress, and marketers who managed to hold it off for the past two years are taking nothing for granted. Ahead of a Senate Commerce hearing planned before month’s end, groups are stepping up their lobbying to block Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s reintroduced Do Not Track Online Act, which would give consumers the online equivalent of a Do Not Call option with the click of a mouse.

Right now the advertising industry is using their own Ad Choices service that allows consumers to opt-out of targeted ads. Obviously the industry would prefer self-regulation to having a government mandate but considering how well the Do Not Call list works (I still get calls from folks that it would seem should not) maybe there isn’t much to worry about.

One has to wonder what the actual adoption rate of such a a service might be anyway. It would only be as effective to the degree that it is advertised and promoted. Since most of the online population is blissfully clueless about what is being tracked about them and why, it seems that this kind of action would be met with the same resounding yawn of indifference that most other ‘threats’ are.

Of course, when you have a well known name looking to have a last hoorah before leaving Congress the fight ahead may be a little more intense.

Rockefeller will be a tough nut to crack. He’s not running for re-election and has nothing to lose by making consumer privacy part of his lasting legacy in Congress. “He will push harder,” predicted Dan Jaffe, evp of the Association of National Advertisers. “He has clout and strong views. This is pivotal for self-regulation.”

As marketers we have to ask just what would a bill like this possibly do to our marketing efforts? Will it be something that will be a mere nuisance or will it be a real hindrance to advertising effectiveness? What it might do is create even more interest in advertising in channels like Facebook and staying there since the remarketing that follows consumers around the web may be limited by such legislation.

Right now though it’s more speculation than anything else. There are plenty of people working the lobby in DC to prevent such a a move with the intention of seeing that a self-policing option is kept in place. As marketers though, it is critical to see what lies on the road ahead that could detour current efforts. No one likes surprises, especially if there has been significant investment of resources in a process that could look very different very soon.

How do you see this ‘threat’? Is it an issue to worry about or simply more bluster coming from Washington that may or may not mean much of anything?

  • MylesJ

    I’d consider it a plus. Depending on organic search is a better approach. As long as Google and others sell registered trademarks as ad words I will maintain this position. Searching for a particular item and being re-directed to 60 sites that have nothing to do with that item does not benefit advertisers in general. Searching for a product, buying that product and then getting targeted ads for the next two months about the product you bought the first day you searched is a total waste of the advertisers money. Doubling the time for a page to paint while the browser manufacturer searches to find targeted ads based on your on line history is time lost forever.

    The problem is so offensive that we have sites like duckduckgo becoming popular because they don’t do these things.

  • Spook SEO

    Frank it is just like legislation and we all know these legislations are always related to do legal things but it does not have any bad effect on the marketing efforts because we are always working on some legislative boundaries and these are good for us. There may be some issues but it can resolve with the passage of time.