The impetus to regulate online marketing may be gathering steam. On June 18 a House of Representatives subcommittee held a hearing to take a closer look at how advertisers gather and use information on consumers’ Web-surfing habits.
Up to now the government has had a hands-off policy toward online marketing, giving companies relatively free rein in how they use tools that track what people do online and then use that data to deliver tailored marketing messages. Although regulation is likely to be far off, it would surely rewrite how Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook, and a wide range of other Internet companies grapple for share in the $25.7 billion online ad market.
Advocates of regulation say Internet companies need to be more up-front about their use of so-called behavioral targeting, which includes placing “cookies” and other software designed to discern a computer user’s tastes and preferences—information that marketers can use to better deliver online ads.
Photo by svilen001.