Remember the “Do Not Call” list and how it threatened to destroy direct marketing? Didn’t happen. And you can expect the same non-event if the FTC-proposed “Do Not Track” guidelines are implemented.
The screenshot above is the NYT’s Online Debate about this issue. Funny thing is, the banner ad at the top of the page is for NBCMiami.com because NYT.com knows where I am and shows relevant ads.
If you ask me, Washington is going to mess this up, because they don’t really understand what’s going on. There is a real difference between “tracking,” “behavioral tracking” and “geo-targeting” but you can bet DC will treat them all the same. And I imagine people are more worried about data compilers building a dossier about their every move on the web, and selling that information. Having relevant ads on the page when you are reading the NYT in Miami is not a bad thing.