The Ad Business 'Will Not honour' Microsoft's 'Do Not Track' Plan For IE10, Exec Says

zach coelius triggitZach Coelius: DNT ain’t gonna work.

Photo: Joi / Flickriver, CC

More evidence is emerging that Microsoft’s plan to launch Internet Explorer 10 with a default “do not track” (DNT) setting to prevent advertisers from targeting individual users will be a fiasco.We previously told you that the DNT setting is flawed because:

  • It’s a signal, not an anti-tracking mechanism, and, thus, technically can be ignored by any advertiser if it chooses.
  • IE10 poses a huge threat to ad exchange businesses like Facebook’s FBX, which could potentially drain money from the small and medium-sized publishers who depend on exchanges to sell their ad inventory for them.
  • And it could leave Microsoft’s Windows Phone business without a meaningful revenue generation model for app developers—thus killing the phone’s future with consumers (because who wants a phone without apps?)

Now, according to one CEO of a major demand-side platform (a buyer of web ads in exchanges on behalf of advertising clients, in plain English), it looks as if the ad industry — which will spend up to $3 billion on real-time bidding in ad exchanges next year — may simply ignore Microsoft and track IE10 users anyway.

We asked Zach Coelius, CEO of Triggit, what he thought of DNT. Naturally, he’s not sympathetic to it because the entire DSP and ad exchange business requires tracking cookies to function. (Cookies identify you as an individual user and record your web browsing but they don’t use personally identifying information such as your name; instead they ID your browser temporarily with a random number.)

Specifically, we put it to Coelius that because DNT works only on the honour system that advertisers would be tempted to ignore it. He responded that because DNT is Microsoft’s default — and not a conscious choice of the user — the signal should be ignored

“The industry will not honour that flag,” he says. “I’m not saying I will ignore that flag. I’m saying the industry will ignore it.”

It’s different when consumers indicate that they, personally, signal that they want their browsing to be done in private. But, “when set by default it’s not valid,” Coelius says. “If it’s set by default it makes ads less relevant.

Coelius also repeated warnings of his peers, 33Across CEO Eric Wheeler and ValueClick CEO Jason Bier, that DNT threatens the livelihoods of a huge number of individual publishers. “It’s going to put a lot of people out of business,” Coelius says.


  • How Microsoft’s ‘Do Not Track’ Policy Could Kill Windows Phone
  • How Microsoft’s ‘Do Not Track’ Policy Is A Mortal Threat To Ad Exchanges Like Facebook’s
  • Here’s The Gaping Flaw in Microsoft’s ‘Do Not Track’ System For IE10

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