Say Please or Your Target May Say "Do Not Track"

Think back to when you were very young. One of the first lessons taught to you was likely around the concept of permission. There are few words more important than please.

Business people should remember the direction, especially when they consider how to engage with consumers.

Two recent developments are a step in the right direction (if not a verbal ask for permission).

Beginning this week, the European Union's 'Do Not Track' law is beigne to be enforced.

The EU regulation require websites that set cookies to do the following:

-- Inform visitors that cookies are being used

-- Explain the purpose of the cookies

-- Obtain a visitor's consent to store the cookie on their device

Some are suggesting that the "Do Not Track" law will soon come to the United States. We shall see.

Meanwhile, Twitter recently began moving in the right direction by utilizing the Do Not Track feature in the Mozilla Firefox browser. This enables people to opt-out of cookies that collect personal information and any third-party cookies, including those used for advertising. The Do Not Track functionality will only work if a Web site agrees to acknowledge it.

Mozilla is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Web better. 

Current adoption rates of Do Not Track on Firefox are 8.6 percent for desktop users and 19 percent for mobile users, according to Mozilla. The company says it sees the biggest adoption rates in The Netherlands, France and the United States.

The issue around tracking comes up often. It was high profile around mobile during the 2011 holiday season when it was reported that certain retailers were “tracking” customers.

Marketing is more common sense than brain surgery. The idea of giving consumers what they want—and nothing more—is simple. Permission-based programs are the future (in my view, they are the present as well). 

Tracking people online or mobile (particularly without transparency into the process) flies in the face of this practice and does anything but encourage interaction between people and brands.

Why is it so difficult for some marketers to understand the requirement for permission-based marketing—let alone implement permission-based programs?


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


Say Please or Your Target May Say "Do Not Track"