We’ve talked about behavioral targeting in the past – particularly about the worries that consumer advocates have about privacy. The issue underscores just how important other targeted marketing – particularly permission-based digital messaging – can be to the marketer who wants a comprehensive, multi-channel campaign to which consumers will truly be receptive.
A proposed New York state law can make things more challenging for the digital marketer – particularly the one who shuns best practices (such as getting permission from consumers before sending out advertisements, and ensuring privacy of the consumer’s contact information). It’s a response to the aforementioned concerns about behavioral targeting, in which ads are served up based on a Web user’s behavior (if the user has browsed sites about animals, the site will show ads for pet shops, for example). In a nutshell, the law would make it illegal for certain Internet companies to use personal information without the consumer’s permission.
While this law is specific to the state of New York, because of the no-borders nature of the Internet, marketers nationwide would end up having to follow the law as well, whether or not they do business in the state or advertise to the state’s denizens. At fines of up to $3000 per violation, no wonder marketers are watching this development carefully.
Still, best-practices proponents shouldn’t be worried. After all, guarding the privacy of consumers is something that our industry has long accepted as the proper way to conduct business. Indeed, the Network Advertising Initiative already has important elements of the bill as part of its voluntary guidelines – guidelines already followed by major players like Yahoo! and DoubleClick.
Legitimate marketers who engage in digital messaging are already conditioned not just to guard privacy, but also to make sure that messages are only sent to those who want to receive them. Critics of online behavioral ad targeting are already clamoring for a national ”Do Not Track” law that would create a list similar to the ”Do Not Call” registry, on which consumers can place themselves in order to not get marketing phone calls.
So if/when New York passes this law, it will, or should, only upset unethical or careless marketers – those who harm the reputation of our industry anyway.
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
”I’d rather you text me”