The WSJ continues to peddle its ill-informed and ridiculously subjective "investigative" series to its readership. We'll soon see if they have achieved its objective of scaring the general public and, more importantly, legislators. With all this negative coverage swirling around behavioural targeting, the industry should acknowledge the strides being made by some vendors in protecting user privacy. I recently dumped my iPhone for a HTC Desire, and required a case for my new Android purchase. I visited MobileFun.co.uk to examine available options. Browsing through a couple of products, I decided to put off the purchase for a couple of days. While on the page I was pixeled by Criteo and retargeted with an ad for that very product on the TechCrunch UK site I visited moments later.
It is probably one of the first ads I have clicked on for a while (simply because of its relevancy). But what really took my interest was an "i" tag that Criteo ran in the corner of the ad placement. This "i" tag, which now appears on all of Criteo's re-targeted ads, gives users the option of opting out of the tracking process. Clicking on the tag brings you to Crtieo's opt-out page. It's the first time I have seen this type of self-regulation by ANY European ad tech company using behavioural targeting. It has to be commended, and indeed encouraged throughout the industry. This is the kind of pro-active action around user privacy that our industry should be doing more of.
The re-targeted ad in question with opt-out "i" tag labeling can be seen below: