Straight Talk About 'Do Not Track,' Behavioral Targeting and the FTC's Marketing Intervention
Sometimes behavioral targeting seems like some secret friend marketers may not want to defend in public, lest everyone learn about the relationship. Silence greeted Bryan Eisenberg's comment to marketers during his March 23 session at SES New York 2011 that they should be concerned about online privacy regulation and actively advocate their points of view because the proposed changes will impact them.
But the topic that's moved from the Federal Trade Commission's online privacy and Do Not Track recommendations onto the front burner for Congress and the White House stayed front of mind for three panelists on on March 15 during a session at Direct Marketing Day @ Your Desk 2011 - Virtual Conference & Expo. The session "How the FTC's Recommendations for Online Privacy Will Impact Direct Marketers" is available on demand for 90 days. A few of the key moments in the session are highlighted below, as non-consecutive quotes.
The panelists are:
- D. Reed Freeman, lead counsel in FTC and state consumer protection investigations and negotiations for law firm Morrison & Foerster;
- Justin Brookman, director of the Project on Consumer Privacy at The Center for Democracy and Technology; and
- Adam Lehman, Chief Operating Officer at audience targeting technology provider Lotame.
Freeman: "Privacy has become a mainstream issue. So much so that it makes it into the comics. And … it's still wildly misunderstood."
Brookman: "I think one of the most important things about the [FTC] report is that it recognized that their approach historically had failed, that the primarily self-regulatory model hasn't really worked for consumers or for businesses to the extent that the consumer trust ecosystem is starting to erode.'
Freeman: "I think there's been a sort of unspoken, but well-understood belief that there's online behavioral advertising through networks and similar entities, and then there's retargeting. And retargeting has been thought of as being sort of outside the box of what the Federal Trade Commission considers to be regulated activity. And that's just not true. It's conceivable that retargeting in some forms could be outside the box. But, in most cases, the FTC considers retargeting precisely the way it considers online advertising, that is behavioral advertising."