What People Are Saying About Interest-Based Advertising

Interest-based advertising offers users an "unprecedented level of choice and control." Rebecca Lieb, ClickZ News "This is an almost unprecedented level of choice and control in advertising, one that will raise the bar a lot higher for other behavioral advertising players. Google's Ads Preferences not only empowers users with a markedly higher measure of control, it bears another, more implicit message: conveying the importance and value of advertising while demonstrating the user's value." ("Google Raises the Behavioral Bar," 3/13/09) Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land "The nice thing about this ad solution is that the end user has control over what ads they want to see. At the google.com/ ads/preferences section, a user can add or remove interest categories to fine tune the ads they see, or they can completely opt out of these tailored ads." ("Google Gets Into Behavioral Targeting, Launches 'Interest-Based Advertising' Beta", 3/11/09) Mike Zaneis, Interactive Advertising Bureau "It's really a consumer empowerment tool, which is great. It's one more example of how industry is competing on the privacy issue, to the benefit of consumers--and also to the benefit of businesses." ("Google Takes Mystery Out Of BT, Gives
Consumers A Say In What They See," 3/11/09)

Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land "To Google’s credit the ability to specify one’s interests and opt out of BT here are innovative and provide a bit more transparency to the program (something that Google must do given its position in the market)." ("Google Gets Into Behavioral
Targeting, Launches 'Interest-Based Advertising' Beta", 3/11/09)

Privacy advocates have praised Google's Ad Preference Manager as "one giant leap for privacy." Miguel Helft, The New York Times "[Google] will give users the choice to opt out from what it calls 'interest-based advertising.' Privacy advocates praised Google’s decision to give users access to their profiles." ("Google to Offer Ads Based on Interests," 3/11/09) Berin Szoka, Progress & Freedom Foundation "Google’s Ad Preference Manager: One Small Step for Google, One Giant Leap for Privacy... [T]hose whose first priority is advancing consumer privacy, not advancing a political or regulatory agenda, should applaud Google for excluding sensitive categories and for putting the new Ad Preference Manager at the core of the company’s new IBA program. The Ad Preference Manager sets a new 'gold standard' for implementing the principles of Notice and Choice, which have formed the core of both OBA industry self-regulation and the various regulatory proposals made in recent years." ("Google’s
Ad Preference Manager: One Small Step for Google, One Giant Leap for Privacy," 3/11/09)

Berin Szoka, Progress & Freedom Foundation "Google’s Ad Preference Manager, with its persistent opt-out plug-in, offers precisely the kind of robust opt-out that privacy advocates have always demanded. Google deserves a rousing “Amen!” from privacy advocates." ("Google’s Ad
Preference Manager: One Small Step for Google, One Giant Leap for Privacy," 3/11/09)

Kurt Opsahl, Electronic Frontier Foundation "Google contacted us about behavioral targeting early on in their development process, and solicited our feedback. One issue we discussed was a persistent problem with opting-out of targeted online advertising -- the use of cookies to opt-out of tracking cookies. The problem is that the very users who care most about privacy are the ones most likely to delete cookies. Yet, if a user deleted all their cookies, they would also delete the cookie that had opted them out of the targeting. So we worked with Google to seek a new solution. Google accepted the technical challenge, and the result is theAdvertising Cookie Opt-Out Plug-in, which allows users to keep their opt-out status for a particular browser even when they clear all cookies. We appreciate that Google was responsive to the opt-out cookie concerns, and especially pleased that the plug-in is available as an open source project." ("Google Begins Behavioral Targeting Ad Program," 3/11/09) Alissa Cooper, Center for Democracy and Technology "'Access to the profile is something we’ve been promoting for years, and what we’ve been hearing from companies is that it would be too difficult for consumers; Google has essentially disproved that [...] On the ad profile and ad access front

[Google has] moved the ball forward.'" ("Are Google's Behavior-Based Ads a New Privacy Concern?," 3/12/09) Information Commissioner's Office, United Kingdom "We recently met with Google to discuss their interest-based advertising product. Transparency and choice are important elements when addressing any consumer concerns about privacy and the monitoring of browser activity [...] In light of this, we are pleased that the preference manager feature allows users a high level of control over how their information is used and that the method by which users can choose to opt out is saved permanently.'" ("Google serves up behavioural ads," 3/11/09) Saul Hansell, The New York Times "Yahoo, Microsoft and the smaller ad networks are using much more information about users for their advertising systems than Google is." ("A Guide to Google's New Privacy Controls," 3/12/09) Google's actions "raise the bar on transparency and user-control." Rebecca Lieb, ClickZ News "In rolling out transparent, user-friendly, simple-to-use tools that allow users to manage their privacy and choices regarding advertising messages they see and the data collected on their surfing habits, Google is sending a powerful message to everyone involved in the online advertising ecosystem. Sorry to break it to you, behavioral advertising veterans. But once again, Google is the one to beat." ("Google Raises the Behavioral Bar," 3/13/09) Miguel Helft, The New York Times "Most notably, Google will be the first major company to give users the ability to see and edit the information that it has compiled about their interests for the purposes of behavioral targeting." ("Google to Offer Ads Based on Interests," 3/11/09) Andrew Frank, Gartner "Google’s sensitivity to the volatility of privacy issues has prompted it to support its entrance into BT with actions that extend beyond public posturing to the deployment of a unique tool it calls Ads Preferences Manager, where users can control interest category membership and opt-outs, as well as a browser plug-in that addresses the principle limitation of current cookie-based opt-out systems, which is their vulnerability to cookie deletion. . . .This is an important step, both for Google and the online advertising industry at large. Google’s actions clearly raise the bar on transparency and usercontrol over BT, and will likely force Yahoo!, Microsoft, and others to respond by offering similar more-granular control of ad preferences, which is likely to have an overall effect of drawing more attention to the practice in general." ("Carefully
Raising the Privacy Bar, Google Crosses into Behavioral Targeting," 3/11/09)

Saul Hansell, The New York Times "[Google] built technology to allow your browser to remember that you don’t want Google (or its DoubleClick unit) to remember anything about you. It is more robust than the opt-out system used by many companies that rely on cookies in browsers. These are technical feats that other ad companies said would be too hard." ("A Guide to Google's New Privacy
Controls," 3/12/09)

Users can choose to opt-out of the program completely. Danielle Long, New Media Age "In a first for a major company, Google will give users the ability to access and edit the interest categories it has compiled via its Ad Preferences tool, or opt out entirely." ("Google moves into behavioural advertising," 3/11/09) Erick Schonfeld, TechCrunch "Anyone can go to Google’s Ads Preferences Manager and see exactly how Google is categorizing their interests... Now, here’s the really smart part: Google lets you add or remove any interest. In effect, it is inviting you to declare what kind of ads you want to see. You can also opt out of the program completely. While most people will probably never bother to tweak their ad preferences or even be aware that they can, this represents an important new precedent in online advertising." ("Google Now Lets You Target Ads At Yourself," 3/11/09)

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