Friday, December 17, 2010

Do Not Track and Net Neutrality and Findability Marketing

Tis the season that websites will be tracking Santa around the globe and that GPS tracking devices will be gifted aplenty. It’s also a time when the FTC is exploring implementation of “Do Not Track” options for websites and online advertisers along the lines of its “Do Not Call” guidelines that were set for telephone direct marketers.

On the one hand, there are privacy issues with respect to how tracking information from online/offline purchases to social media profiles to web browsing/clicking behavior can be aggregated to reveal more about an individual than they have provided by choice at any one of these “locations.” It’s a case of 1+1=“all about you” and it was a lively topic at the DMA conference at which I recently spoke recently.

On the other hand, online publishers are making the case that tracking allows them to provide more relevant content to the individual albeit usually in the form of advertising. To them, tracking makes for a better online experience for you. Of course, it makes for a better bottom line experience for them and that is really what is driving this side of the debate.

Meanwhile, the FCC is looking at the issue of “net neutrality” and how providers like Comcast and Verizon may be able manage the flow of online content to your computer and/or mobile device – perhaps opening up the potential of tiered internet pay plans much like how cable systems operate today.

One thing is for sure – all this activity reinforces the importance of the Findability Marketing we are doing for our clients. Search engine optimization, paid search and social media marketing puts them in the position to be found freely by their customers when and where they want instead of via tracking, limiting/forcing access, etc. In other words, our clients are positioned for success regardless of what any Federal (blank) Commission may mandate.

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