Thursday, March 20, 2008

Behavioral Targeting Does Attract Attention

The New York Times published a second article today regarding pending legislation to regulate tracking of online behavior using analytics tools. The story centered on a bill submitted by a NY assemblyman, and suggested “there ought to be a law…that would make it a crime for certain Web companies to use personal information about consumers for advertising without their consent”. This sentiment runs parallel with the previous story (by the same reporter) that cited 9 customer advocacy groups petitioning for Do Not Track lists.

So, lawmakers are now playing catch-up to Internet practices that have been in place for years. The unfounded fear is that ‘you know too much about me and will entice me to spend money on your products’. C’mon. In essence, haven’t salesmen and marketers been attempting to do this for the last century? Size up your customer and sell them what you can. The Web allows us to interact with an environment that is infinitely measurable…And now you want to take that away? Privacy concerns considered, I think these legislatures have an uphill battle in front of them. Advertising has always been an intrusive process. Stop people from what they’re doing, get their attention and say something memorable. If tracking enables that in a more relevant manner, I say -- good for advertising. If you don’t like it, ignore the ads (and don't worry…they’re used to it).

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