Monster adds 'Do Not Track' setting to personal preferences

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Job website Monster.com added a setting on its Career Ad Network January 28 that allows consumers to control behavioral ad targeting. It is the latest example of a company relinquishing some control over online tracking by allowing consumers to determine their own preferences.

The new Career Ad Network ads will contain an “Interest Based Ad” hyperlink that will prompt consumers to refine their cookie settings to allow behavioral tracking, and receive more relevant ads, or completely opt out of behavioral targeting.

The website will allow consumers to determine if they want targeted ads based on the following information: the category of jobs they are interested in; the locations they are searching near; and their education and career level.

Monster.com uses anonymous Web browsing and job search behavior to display relevant job ads. The company said that in a recent study of 250 members, 83% said they would prefer to see ads matching their interest based on behavior, while 17% said they would prefer to see generic ads.

“We've been moving to try to be as proactive as possible to let users know how we use their information,” said Tom Chevalier, product manager for Monster and the Career Ad Network product. “Our members create profiles and they're giving us quite a bit of personal info. We take that as an important sign of trust, and it's important we continue to earn it.”

The Federal Trade Commission called for a universal "Do Not Track" option in December. The federal agency will issue a report this year on whether government regulation of consumer online privacy is needed.

A December USA Today/Gallup poll revealed that more than two-thirds of consumers oppose online behavioral tracking and related targeted advertising.

“I don't think the industry needs to go down the lines of 'Do Not Track,'” Chevalier said. “But Monster would comply if need be.”

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