Best Selling

Friday, July 17, 2009


Online advertising is a delicate balance. Most of us like ads tailored to our interests and don’t mind sacrificing a little privacy for something that helps fund free media, search and email. But just how much information are we willing to give away, and do we trust who has it? Randall Rothenberg, head of the biggest online ad association, says never fear, his industry wants what’s best for everyone.

Comments [4]

Eric C from

The topic OTM needs to cover regarding internet revenue that is "affiliate marketing" or when a blog writes a review for a product that they have been paid to write. This would never happen in the old journalism world, but bloggers untrained in journalistic ethics do it without batting an eye. I know the FTC is looking into it, and they should.

Jul. 20 2009 06:24 AM

I agree with Jonathan. As easy as it is to moan about our loss of privacy because websites are capable of tracking us, it is even easier just to stay private. Almost all of the mainstream web browsers now have a "private mode" that automatically removes the information websites store on your computer (the information used to track viewers).

As for the information that takes more than two clicks to conceal, things like what web browser one is using or whether or not they have flash installed, I think few would object to automatically sharing.

In fact the problem of browsing privacy is so well solved, that the actions of Internet service providers has become a far bigger risk. Some already sell information about the browsing habits of their customers. This sort of "hidden breach", the type that is impossible to solve with any slider, is what deserves more attention. Perhaps OTM's next look at privacy on the web should focus on these sources.

In case anyone is interested hitwise is pretty upfront about using data collected straight from Internet Service Providers:

Jul. 20 2009 03:46 AM
Jonathan from San Francisco

The whole privacy/security protection argument as you framed it is spurious and/or long-obsolete. The requisite privacy apparatus for concealing, permitting, etc., including the "slider" concept in one or another form, is already present on the client side--within every user's browser. Cookies can be accepted or rejected according to whatever guidelines the user wants in every major browser I've seen or heard of. The user can then specify individual sites to have either tighter or looser privileges. Putting a "slider" or button or whatever on every site would be arguably ineffective, annoying, etc. as your guest said; more to the point, it would be superfluous. A solution in search of a problem long since solved.

Jul. 20 2009 02:52 AM
Mark Kemper from Charlotte NC

The slider idea is available now. I use Firefox because an extension called NoScript it permits you to allow or not allow java scripts can be the door to track you when using a site.

In fact your site On the Media has a java script for I don't feel google needs to know I have gone to your site.

Jul. 19 2009 04:41 PM

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