Online Advertising Privacy Regulation: In It To Spin It!

AdAge is talking about the release of the free privacy online icon to smaller companies, not just the license of them to large companies. The icon allows users to opt-out of behavioral targeting. Here’s what the icon looks like:

Free Privacy Online Icon

Open or Closed

It’s not black and white but if it were, there would be ‘open’ people, and there would be ‘closed’ people with regard to behavior online.

Open: Yes, pay attention to my behavior so I don’t receive irrelevant ads. Oooh, horseback riding just a couple of miles away!
Closed: I do not want you to track anything I do online. And, stop sending me stupid ads! (?)

Open: Remember me. I’m terrible at remembering passwords and I sign up for a lot of stuff because I love the Internet.
Closed: Do not save or cookie any information of mine. Hey why do I have to fill out this form again! (?)

Open: Online privacy controls are fine, but allow me to hand the keys over to the Digital Advertising Alliance or FTC. Innocent until proven guilty. I have little to hide.
Closed: I demand online privacy controls, um I have no idea how to use them exactly, what does this lever do? (?)

My point is, smart people are making legislation in 2012 to give you closed people options, for your protection. But, you are wearing swimming earplugs to the fire hydrant party, it’s underkill.

You know how when a police car rides up behind you arbitrarily, though you are doing nothing wrong, he’s like a yellow jacket flying around your picnic sandwich, your heart rate increases, and you wish he’d leave? On the other hand, when the neighbors are fighting in the middle of the night and it sounds like are going to kill each other, when you see those red and blue flashing lights you feel safe and happy they are there?

That’s my policy. The government has every right (and responsibility) to protect you. You, as well, should have every right to opt out of that. Me? My policy is be careful with my money, and separate my spam from my important email, but other than that, I fall hard into the ‘open’ category. Here is a Klout.com list you can follow of others I find ‘open’ on Twitter:

My “open” list on Klout.

(…and by the way, I’m open to suggestions to that list. Because I’m open. You get it.)

Either way, as usual, expect growth in online ad spending in the upcoming years:

Online Ad Spending Forecast

Because as web sites, blogs, magazines, promotions and more expand online, so does the advertising landscape:

Online Ad Channels

The biggest activity (behavior) we take part in online (beside perhaps the one-handed 30-second rewind ~ meow!) is search. Here is where you’ll see most of the digital advertising:

Market Share by Search Engine

I Hate Shopping

An estimated that 30% of online digital ads ($28.5 billion) in the U.S. use behavioral tracking, says AdAge. I want my advertisers to know me, what I like, and how I act. Maybe I’m lacking the old-fashioned gene that makes people drive to a store and walk around looking on the racks and shelves for supplies. It just feels a bit Little House on the Prairie to me.

Online recommendations (live or culled), stylists and catalogs with fun interactivity and social sharing sounds better. Webvan is gone but did you notice Safeway has taken it back up?