Advertisers Unhappy About Mozilla “Do Not Track” Plans

computers with two cookies
Mozilla’s “Do Not Track” option is causing consternation in the online advertising world.

Firefox will now block third-party cookies by default and online marketers are upset, as they believe it will cut their ability to track online browsing trends and prevent them from being able to target consumers with ads. It may, however, be good news for online users, giving them more control over their privacy and less pop up ads. Nevertheless, advertisers are seeing red over the change.

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) president and CEO Randall Rothenberg’s take on the changes is that it will do nothing to help Mozilla advance their agenda of providing more choices and innovation for the consumer. He claims the move will instead hurt the process by limiting consumer choices, thereby hindering innovation.

According to Mr. Rothenberg, the move to block all third party cookies will disenfranchise many users and everyone will lose the freedom and flexibility to choose on how they experience and utilize the Internet. The changes, Rothenberg claims, will force many small businesses and independent content providers out of business.

At the recent Digital Media summit, Rothenberg was blindsided during his interview with Terry Kawaja, founder and CEO of LUMA Partners. In the middle of his interview, SVP of business and legal affairs at Mozilla, Harvey Anderson, walked onto the stage. To put it bluntly, the exchange was “awkward.” Rotheberg apparently stated during the interview: “There are some people at Mozilla who are actively against the ad business.” Anderson volleyed back by saying, “We’re not opposed to advertising in any way, shape or form.”

Microsoft recently joined the bandwagon by starting a “Do Not Track” default browser header that sends a message to advertisers not to track their users. The ad community has bluntly come out to say they will not adhere to the request and will continue their practices undeterred.

ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice voiced in a recent statement. “It is time that Microsoft realign with the broader business community and provide choice to consumers, which is why ANA’s board of directors has come together and emphatically denounce this ill-considered approach.”

Rothenberg also wrote in his blog post “If third-party cookies become blocked; all advertising on the Internet will diminish in value because advertisers will not be able to control the delivery and performance of their ads. Without third-party cookies, the web will revert to a giant spam machine.”

It remains to be seen. Advertisers will continue to battle against the changes and the Companies that run the internet work to find the right balance that keeps everyone happy.

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