Online Advertisers Create Anti-“Do Not Track” Advocacy Group

    October 16, 2012

Online advertisers really hate Microsoft and their stance on “Do Not Track.” The conflict between the two came to a head last week when the advertisers said they were just going to simply ignore the DNT signal in Internet Explorer 10. Now they want you, the regular consumer, to know that DNT is bad for you or the economy.

The Direct Marketing Association announced the creation of the Data-Driven Marketing Institute this week. It’s goal is to combat the negative image that data-driven marketing now has thanks to privacy proponents. Here’s the official statement from the DMA’s Acting CEO and President, Linda A. Woolley:

DMA has launched the Data-Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI) to set the record straight about the countless ways that data-driven marketing creates value for consumers — and is an engine of economic growth. Through education, research, and outreach, DDMI will redouble our efforts to advance and protect responsible data-driven marketing…on behalf of marketers, fund-raisers – and consumers — everywhere.

So how will the DMA “set the record straight?” There are three main components to their plan – advocacy, consumer education and engagement, and research. In essence, the DMA has created a lobbying group that will go to Congress to tell them that consumer tracking is perfectly fine as long as it serves businesses. They will also use propaganda to convince consumers that data collection can only be beneficial.

Look, both sides are right in their own ways. Microsoft is right in making DNT the default option in Internet Explorer 10. It’s a pro-consumer move that nets the tech giant a lot of points with consumers and privacy advocates. On the other hand, the advertising industry is also right in saying that their ads help support a lot of free online services like Hulu and Spotify.

This is all going to come down to the consumer sooner or later. Do you value your privacy enough to start paying premiums on all your online services? Do you think selling your personal information for free stuff is worth it? Both sides can lobby all they want, but the consumer is going to have the final say in this. The popularity of free services like Spotify seems to indicate that consumers have already picked their side.

[h/t: The Hill]