AOL intelligently tries to head off concerns about privacy and behavioural targeting before congressional sound bites blow the Tacoda acquisition and Platform A strategy to smithereens. The company is now allowing users to opt out of having their cookies tracked, presumably in an attempt to appease so-called consumer advocacy groups that are marching on Washington in protest (or at least the folks they’re appealing to).
This is a smart move. We continue to think there is significant risk that “behavioural Targeting” will blow up into a DoubleClick-like privacy backlash (At one point, DoubleClick wanted to “marry” offline catalogue purchasing behaviour with online site tracking, which sent privacy watchdogs into an absolute tizzy. Never mind that there weren’t any names involved: The resulting brouhaha forced the company to scrap these plans). behavioural targeting complaints will probably still produce some scary sound bites, but AOL’s proactive overture should help.