Privacy Legislation and Affiliate Marketing

July 27, 2009
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New legislation regarding consumer privacy on the web has recently come to light and is expected to be decided upon by 2010 (link). The topics discussed include the notion of requiring any data collected from the user via cookies to be opted-in. That is to say, the user must grant the website access to it’s behavioral information to better target display ads on that site and possibly others.

This kind of legislation could potentially have as large an impact as the CAN-SPAM act did in 2004. This has some marketers shaking in their boots; they fear if the legislation passes it could mean certain death for smaller ad businesses. Personally, I enjoy behavioral targeted ads; I don’t feel like my privacy is compromised when I receive ads that are based on my interests. In fact, I prefer those types of ads rather than mass-marketed, huge campaigns that I have no interest in.

I can understand where the concern is and how the consumer will feel safer while surfing by clicking “deny access.” And if that is the trend, I feel like the ad companies will most likely lose click rates. Larger search companies may benefit from this legislation- companies like Google and Microsoft who offer

New legislation regarding consumer privacy on the web has recently come to light and is expected to be decided upon by 2010 (link). The topics discussed include the notion of requiring any data collected from the user via cookies to be opted-in. That is to say, the user must grant the website access to it’s behavioral information to better target display ads on that site and possibly others.

This kind of legislation could potentially have as large an impact as the CAN-SPAM act did in 2004. This has some marketers shaking in their boots; they fear if the legislation passes it could mean certain death for smaller ad businesses. Personally, I enjoy behavioral targeted ads; I don’t feel like my privacy is compromised when I receive ads that are based on my interests. In fact, I prefer those types of ads rather than mass-marketed, huge campaigns that I have no interest in.

I can understand where the concern is and how the consumer will feel safer while surfing by clicking “deny access.” And if that is the trend, I feel like the ad companies will most likely lose click rates. Larger search companies may benefit from this legislation- companies like Google and Microsoft who offer relevant ads based on search terms without the use of cookies. If ad companies can provide enough transparency so that the consumer understands that the cookies are merely used to provide relevant ads, and their information will not be sold or misused, this legislation could potentially benefit both parties. First, by providing a level of privacy previously not offered, and secondly by helping marketers stay trusted if they follow through with accountable behavior when using user-approved cookies.

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