Though I will point out that everyone should take a careful note and watch how this unfolds. Do Not Track is a wake up call. It is a wake up call for consumers and for marketers, agencies, technology companies and even the investment community (VC's, angels, founders etc.).
A few things are a definite:
- privacy is taking front stage with consumers
- consumers have and will continue to have more options around privacy
- privacy is getting the attention of policy makers
- the EU directive has broken new ground and everyone is watching closely
- tracking and privacy is not going away and will only become more scrutinized
- ad targeting will be very different than what we know today
- we have an industry that is anchored in dated technology
Your concern should be where you fit in all of this. Are you ready for change? Let’s for a moment consider what behavioral ad targeting is riding on. It’s not the threat of DNT or other privacy initiatives, it’s biggest threat is it’s reliance on the third party cookie. At the crux of the issue is this little third party cookie that was probably intended to be used for convenience by web sites and services, has been abused, poorly implemented, and circumvented a whole industry.
If I was involved in any cookie based dependent technology, I would be scared. Scared at the fragility of it. Here are a few points to consider:
- third party cookies (or cookies in general) are very unreliable
- they get deleted all the time
- browsers vary greatly on how they manage them
- user settings are all over the board
- have a bad rap in the media
- have a bad rap by most consumers
- are very limited in the data they can store
- the size and number of cookies are inconsistent across browsers
- are awful for any measurement
- multiple users across machines renders them mostly useless and reliable
For us at Crowd Science, (warning: shameless plug for the company I am a co-founder at) we specifically and purposely built our technology stack around opt-in using research principals, around value propositions for the publisher and visitor, and without the reliance on cookies. Crowd Science Audience modeling is based on a sophisticated audience prediction engine, and only utilizes cookies for convenience, not as a necessity, and our little know secret is that a cookie-less operating mode has been in operation since the inception.