Putting Consumers in Control of their Profile

Over the past 6 months, there has been a great deal of activity related to the House subcommittee hearings on targeted advertising.  AT&T’s advocacy for “more transparency and consumer control” in their testimony, strikes a chord I think with the marketplace today.

I used to work for a small online ad network, and we were more than keen to participate in the privacy best practices at the time – allowing users to “opt-out” of cookie level tracking for the purposes of ad targeting by using a form on the ad network’s website.  The problem of course is that opting out simply deletes your current tracking cookie from your browser, which doesn’t prevent you from almost immediately receiving a new cookie when you subsequently visit a website within the ad network. Another option is a temporary opt-out, which, unfortunately by its very nature, interferes with the user’s web experience.

Neither option provides the consumer—or the enterprise for that matter—with what they want. At best it provides the consumer with an illusion of control, but the control is entirely to the inconvenience of the user.

A new interaction paradigm—one that replaces intrusive web tracking and near-random targeting with personalization and user control—is on the horizon.  Companies will either accept this new paradigm or risk being left behind.

The technology we have built at Atigeo has been designed from the ground up with the premise that a consumers’ data should be not only be transparent to them it should also be:

  • Private: People should be in control of their personal data and able to manage it;
  • Portable: People should be empowered to share their data with whom and how they choose; and
  • Personal: Companies can realize enormous benefits through better alignment with their customers in this regard.

Giving users control of their data is not only an issue for marketers.  As it turns out, it’s a necessity for all companies wanting to maintain their customers’ trust and loyalty… and to effectively compete in today’s marketplace.

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