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BizReport : Advertising archives : October 05, 2010

Advertisers encouraged to use ad targeting opt-out icon

A group, representing thousands of advertising and trade companies, has announced final details of a program designed to give consumers more control over how their Internet browsing habits are used to target ads. While some advertisers may see this as a backward step, others see it as the only way forward.

by Helen Leggatt

icon_enhanced_notice_lg.jpgAdvertisers that collect Internet user information for behavioral targeting of ads are being encouraged to implement an "Advertising Option Icon" on websites, or near ads, where behavioral tracking has been used.

The small icon directs Internet users to information on why the ad has been presented to them and gives the opportunity to opt out of future targeted ads. This does not mean, however, that untargeted ads will not be shown to that user in future.

Advertisers can find out more information by visiting Meanwhile, plans are afoot for the same website to become a hub where consumers can go to opt out of participating companies' targeted online ads in one fell swoop.

While some advertisers may be frustrated at the move, depending on targeted advertising to hone their response and conversion rates, many believe that the move is needed to allay privacy fears.

"Our ability to deliver advertising messages to consumers that speak only to their interests must surely be one of the great benefits of the media revolution that we're living through," said Nancy Hill, President and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

"We fully understand that this advance in targeting will be lost if the public comes to believe that we are not responsible stewards of the data on which it is built."

Tags: online advertising, privacy, targeted advertising

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