Ad tracking is a wonderful tool for local advertisers. Occasionally we do it here, too. When you came to our site we placed a cookie on your computer, a very common practice done for a variety of reasons, you’ve got hundreds already. For the record, we have no idea who you are or where you go on the Internet. However, we contracted with an ad network that may show you our ad as you go to other sites. Here’s a big problem.
Ad tracking, re-marketing, re-targeting whatever it’s called is a very cost-effective way to promote a product or service and enables sites to generate income. I’ll bet your local newspaper’s site is in an ad network and that helps keep their site free.
So what’s the industry to do? Abandon the practice? Explain it better? Allow for opt-in’s only?
This reminds me of the discussion years ago about entering your credit card number online. For the most part consumers have gotten over that fear as security improved and the benefit of shopping online outweighed the risk.
This one will be more difficult as the advertiser’s benefit is much greater than the consumer’s benefit.
We’ll keep you posted.
See you around.