Monday, August 11, 2008

AOL Uses Penguin for Behavioral Targeting Tutorial

AOL has launched an international campaign to teach users about behavioral targeting & online ad serving cookies by creating a brief flash animation showing a penguin surfing the web and viewing Anchovie ads.

Mr. Penguin

Mr. Penguin

Hmmm Mr Penguin is serving as AOL's silent voice on privacy. (no sound in that flash movie)

If you click on the end card of the video, you can then visit the opt-out page for those cookies it shows you links to privacy policies for no less than 7 ad servers used by AOL, plus and 8th link for the NAI (National Advertising Initiative) opt-out site. From the AOL opt-out pageg, you can visit the blog of AOL's Chief Privacy Officer, Jeff Polonetsky for some research done by AOL on how users treat their own private information, like their annual income figures.

It all comes down to the fact that we SAY one thing and DO another when it comes to protecting personal details. We trade private personal and financial information for convenience and minor perks and freebies.

Well, Google, Yahoo and now AOL have come out with very different responses to this issue. I haven't found a public statement yet from MSN, but here is the MSN Opt-Out page.

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posted by RealitySEO at 7:47 PM 1 comments

Thursday, August 07, 2008

DoubleClick & Google Content Network Opt-Out Cookie

Announcement from Google that they will enhance ad targeting through DoubleClick cookie comes with the ability to opt-out of that cookie across both networks. Follow the link to opt out of Google DoubleClick ad serving behavioral tracking. If you want to "See more relevant ads" I suggest paying attention to PPC ads in the Google search results. That is as relevant as I need, thank you.

Here is a basic video from Google about cookies.

There are more of these videos at the cookie opt-out page which do a credible job of explaining cookies, but make them seem a bit more innocuous than they are. As both a web enthusiast and a privacy advocate, I have accepted that cookies are a necessary evil - but don't agree with behavioral targeting when done across multiple sites.

I written multiple articles, most of them years ago about privacy issues, but things have evolved and become far more complex. I've accepted that few people care about privacy issues until they are personally affected in some way by some form of privacy invasion in financial, medical privacy or suffer some form of hacking, social engineering, job loss, embarrassment or suffer from some type of either real-world or cyber stalking incident.

Some privacy advocates go too far in agitating for change and that does the cause no good at all. But perhaps this small opt-out cookie to keep your web travels out of the hands of DoubleClick will contribute to a bit of digital privacy for those who do care.

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posted by RealitySEO at 7:38 AM 0 comments