"Do Not Track" Dramarama

"Do Not Track" Dramarama
"Do Not Track" Dramarama

“In the trenches.” “Ready to do battle.” “Atomic bomb.”

War terminology is simply the best way to describe “Do Not Track,” a policy proposal that, if passed, may make it harder for marketers to track and target customers online, says Steve Sullivan, speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's VP of digital supply chain solutions at last week's IAB Marketplace conference in New York City.

“‘Do Not Track', executed poorly, is a very real threat to our entire industry,” Sullivan said before addressing a panel of marketing and legal professionals about the proposed policy. Michael Wechsler, founder of TheLaw.com, took a particularly bleak — if not intentionally outrageous — view of what would happen to direct marketers if “Do Not Track” passed, likening the Federal Trade Commission to the group in the war room in Dr. Strangelove, who, in famous dramatic fashion, decide to drop an atomic bomb. (The audience at the IAB convention laughed uncomfortably at this reference. And understandably so.)

Maybe it's just me, but war terminology, used in this way, is a bit extreme. It seems to detract from the real proposed purpose of “Do Not Track:" To give customers more control over what information they do and do not want to share about themselves online. At it's core, it's really quite simple.

In today's opt-in marketing culture, there's no way that “Do Not Track” will spell total doom for the direct marketing industry. Many customers seem to love targeted ads. Why would they want to give that up completely?

Direct marketing is an industry full of creatives and super-smart business-savvy professionals, correct?

Don't scare so easy, guys. Now's your time to shine.

Erin Dostal
is a reporter at
Direct Marketing News.

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