Today marked the first time I encountered (or noticed) one of the IAB ads from its "Privacy Matters" campaign. Launched back in December, the goal of the program is to "to educate consumers and provide them with the resources to help them manage their privacy online."
Accompanying the ads is "an information-rich website where consumers can... engage in conversation about their privacy concerns."
Now, I don't know about you, but the only place I've seen people engage in conversation about their privacy concerns en masse is on Facebook via threads related to the latest effort by the social media giant to "extend the social graph" by sharing personal information with little-to-no advance notification and a mere opt-out.
Of course, the data collection, sharing, and targeting practices of IAB members are also opt-out but seldom (if ever) involve personally-identifiable information. Alas, the call to action to "engage in conversation" has produced a grand total of 16 comments to date on the IAB Privacy Matters website.
Google, for its part, took a different tact when it launched Interest-based advertising. For the most part, it avoids using the words "behavioral" and "targeting" altogether. Instead it suggests that its platform makes ads more "relevant" and "useful." I believe I called this approach putting lipstick on a pig.
My personal take? All the campaigning, notifications and wordplay in the world can't change the fact that the reason people don't like behaviorally (or otherwise) targeted ads is because they know someone's getting rich off their data and it ain't them.
As I said before, let's stop educating people about privacy (or even policing it) and just pay them!
Don't get me wrong, I applaud the IAB and its members for doing something to educate the public and keep the vocal minority from becoming a vocal majority. That said, I think we need pop the pig open and see if it squeals rather than just making it over.