Are You Allowing Advertisers to Track Your Every Move Online?

The display advertising industy has undergone a great shift where ads now follow you around on the Internet in real-time based on your interests.

This has increased click-through and conversion rates across the board. Techvibes has explained how some new social media networks are emerging as interest-based with cyPop and Montreal-based startup Bunch.

This type of advertising has a chance to run deeper according to AdChoices, launched in 2011. Their “Advertising Option Icon” gives you transparency and control over interest-based ads.  It is backed by the Internet Advertising Bureau and many American advertising associations. Canadians spend a lot of time on US-based websites, moreso than on Canadian-based sites, so they are just as affected, even if real-time bidding is not as prevalent in Canada. 

There is much debate over Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer 10 browser because it is automatically enabling do-not-track for users in the United States. Yahoo and Apache have said that they are ignoring and going around DNT. Apache says that Microsoft is blatantly abusing open source standards.

In early September, according to Wikipedia, Roy Fielding, an author of DNT, submitted a patch to the source code of the HTTP server which will make the server explicitly ignore any use of the DNT header by Internet Explorer 10.

The W3C has recommended that DNT be an opt-in feature. However, Microsoft has unilaterally supported the automatic enablement of DNT. Online advertisers are increasingly angry and have waged war against Microsoft in the last few weeks. Users will be able to turn off DNT, but how many modest Internet users ever go through their browser settings?



The W3 counter reported that in September 2012 Google Chrome led the way with a 28.4% browser market share, followed by Internet Explorer at 27.6%, Firefox at 22.8%, Safari at 14.1%, and Opera at 2.3%. Chrome version 21 is the most used browser at over 21%, with Internet Explorer 9 at 12.51%, followed by Firefox 15 at 12.49%.

With an approximate 14.5% of users still using Internet Explorer 7 and 8, Internet Explorer 10 will not have as an immediate impact on the entire web. That’s due to browser fragmentation.

Internet Explorer 10’s launch coincides with the launch of Windows 8, the tablet Surface, and Windows Phone 8. It is an entirely new touchscreen based operating system that is re-defining the way we use computers. Windows is still the most commonly used operating system, representing over 70% of the market. Windows 8 further comes with many DNT options.

Evidon, the global leader in revealing the invisible web, announced in late September that the company is now serving two billion daily “Ad Choices” icons worldwide. The company’s privacy controls are providing transparency and choice for more than $1 billion dollars of display advertising. They say they are reaching 150 million consumers daily in 40 countries across mobile and web platforms. 



That is why big data will continue to be used for advertising efficiency purposes. Further, data efficiency breakdowns for marketers have become almost pinpoint. It’s just a question of whether Microsoft is right in enabling DNT.  It’s also a question of whether consumers are willing to oblige to something like this.

There is currently no law in place that prevents Yahoo and Apache from circumventing browser-based tools like Microsoft’s.