Microsoft’s defence of its ad-targeting practices, laid out in a response to a House inquiry: Sure, we collect data on our Web users. But we’ve been more responsible about it than other guys. And we’re not nearly as bad as the cable operators using spying services like NebuAd.
Microsoft says it began collecting data outside its own Web sites in 2006, when it launched a third-party ad network, and that activity accelerated after the acquisition of aQuantive in 2007. In its defence, Microsoft says it started offering an “opt-out” option on all pages on which it serves ads starting in the Spring. But it says a mere 1,800 users had taken advantage of it. (Our challenge for SAI readers: Please show us where where the “opt-out” option is on these pages. We’d love a screenshot.)
And anyway, Microsoft says, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s getting killed in the online ad business. So if anybody has a problem with its data collection processes, they should really take a look at Yahoo (YHOO) and Google (GOOG):
in general, the entity with the largest market share in delivering search and non-search ads will also collect the most data about users.
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