Sunday, 6 November 2011

Opt-out tools from targeted online advertising: it's just an illusion putting me back in all this confusion...

A recent study on online behavioral advertising (Why Johnny Can't Opt Out) conducted by researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University showed that consumers are having serious troubles to use opt-out tools that advertising companies provide to them in order to enable consumers to opt out of receiving ads targeted based on their Web-surfing behavior. Some consumers that were tested couldn't find the opt-out page without additional instruction received from the test moderator. Some consumers got confused and thought that they would need to pay for using the opt-out tools. Consumers who managed to find opt-out tools, often managed to opt-out only from one type of ads instead of from all of them. Additionally, there were complaints made that the opting-out process took a long time (ca. 45 minute for some). The test results show that the self-regulatory measures that advertising companies implemented at the moment in the US to enable consumers to stop targeted advertising are less than satisfactorily efficient. This data should be interesting to European legislators who struggle at the moment with the implementation of the ePrivacy Directive. (see e.g. Cookies going stale)

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