Do Not Track. No, Seriously.
The Do Not Track proposal announced last week by CDT and eight other groups -- which aims to improve consumer choices about behavioral targeting in online advertising -- has generated a diverse array of reactions in the press. One of these, discussed in BusinessWeek and elsewhere, is the idea that adoption of the Do Not Track List would reduce advertising revenue. The way the argument goes is that behaviorally targeted ads are more valuable than other kinds of ads, and use of the Do Not Track List would mean that fewer behaviorally targeted ads would get served to Internet users. BusinessWeek cites Tim Vanderhook, CEO of behavioral ad network Specific Media:
"The value of advertising on the Internet would drop because you couldn't say, 'This is a finance person. Let me show them a finance ad,'" says Tim Vanderhook, chief executive of Specific Media, one of the largest privately held behaviorally targeted ad networks. "So the only way to make as much money is a) make them pay or b) show them more ads."