Consumers, FTC Seeking Behavioral Advertising Transparency

Patrick Avery

Consumers are often oblivious to the fact that some businesses share a great deal of their personal information with other businesses who deliver targeted behavioral advertising, says Anzen analysts Megan Brister and Jordan Prokopy. In an e-mail interview with IT Business Edge editor Lora Bentley, Brister and Prokopy say most consumers are just not aware of the business practices of companies that use personal information for profit.


The Federal Trade Commission recently held meetings with consumer and privacy advocates, business and government leaders to discuss privacy, regulatory, and business issues of online behavioral advertising. It plans plan to ramp up efforts to protect consumers and possibly push for tougher legislation to protect consumers.


One issue, Brister and Prokopy say, is the lack of transparency by companies that engage in behavioral advertising. These companies have been slow to adopt clear data-management policies and even when they do have policies, they are often written in language that is difficult to understand.


Fortunately for consumers, some type of regulation appears to be on the way. The FTC appears eager to penalize businesses who lack transparency regardless of whether the consumer actually experienced any real negative effects as a result, Brister and Prokopy say.


For businesses wanting to learn more about behavioral advertising, check out the "Behavioral Analytics for Dummies" Excerpt in the Knowledge Network.


This excerpt contains the book's entire fourth chapter entitled, "Applying Behavioral Analytics to Real Business Challenges." In this chapter, you see how to put your behavioral analytics results into action. That might mean optimizing your online marketing, monetizing your Web site visitors, improving business-to-business sales effectiveness or some other customer-focused task.

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