Tuesday, August 26, 2008

IE8: Cookie Monster

The anti-cookie crusade is gaining momentum. Rather than a full blown Do-No-Track initiative, we're starting to see product "enhancements" that make it easier for consumers to opt-out of tracking.

The latest example is Microsoft's IE8 which apparently has an "InPrivate" feature.

Per MediaPost, the next version of Internet Explorer will have "new privacy features that could more readily delete the browsing history and cookies of individual Internet users, making it more difficult for advertisers and publishers to track and serve ads to them."

The article also cites a new Mozilla feature -- "a 'private browsing' tool [that] would offer users greater flexibility in terms of how they adjust their privacy settings."

Juxtapose these developments against the companies racing to find ways to better ways to track and target ads to consumers and the industry seems to be at odds over how to balance consumer privacy with the delivery (and accountability) of relevant marketing messages.

And Microsoft really embodies this struggle. On one hand it's releasing a new feature that allows consumers to easily delete cookies while at the same time fine-tuning an advertising platform that relies on this crucial data to provide targeted placement for marketers.

Readers of this blog will know my POV is that marketers and media owners/aggregators need to cut consumers in on the action and pay them in exchange for sharing their data. Later tonight, I'll share my proof of concept.

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