What Are the Side Effects if Do Not Track Passes
There are a lot of discussions going on regarding the consequences of Do Not Track (DNT) – how it will affect ad tech companies, how it will affect small online publishers, and, ultimately, how will it affect us – the consumers.
First, we must try to understand what DNT really means. It is technically a simple proposal: Add a header to the messages browsers send when they obtain web pages. The header would actually be a simple request for web servers not to track a user’s behavior and online browsing habits. It has been compared to the National Do Not Call Registry. DNT would give us – the consumers – greater control of our personal information online by allowing us to opt out of behavioral advertising. Privacy groups and internet companies, however, do not agree on what exactly the controls should be or what it really means. Privacy groups believe that DNT would halt the collection of data which would allow consumers to surf the web without being concerned that their online activities are being tracked for economic gain. Internet companies believe it would stop them from targeting ads to consumers based on their web browsing history.
Everyone from Fortune 500 tech giants like Google and Facebook to small online publishers would be affected if Congress passes Do Not Track into law. Basically, companies that depend on partners to help them drive revenue from advertising which obtains anonymous, third-party data could be impacted. Google and Facebook would surely see their bottom line affected by DNT, but it is the small online publishers who would be the most vulnerable. DNT would make it almost impossible for a small online publisher whose revenues depend on behavioral advertising to build their business.
It can be argued that allowing consumers to opt out of behavioral advertising and, thereby, affecting the bottom line of advertisers and publishers would lead to a time when free internet may no longer exist. The practice of collecting and selling a consumer’s data to advertisers has become a main source of income for many online companies which helps provide the consumer with free web content and services.
The discussions regarding Do Not Track will continue with many believing that the internet marketplace has grown and the protection of consumer information must grow along with it.