Microsoft isn’t making itself any friends in the ad industry, which still isn’t crazy about the company’s Do Not Track ambitions.
On Tuesday Microsoft chief privacy officer Brendon Lynch confirmed that the Do Not Track (DNT) setting would be on by default in the next version of Internet Explorer, a move the company initially announced in May.
“Do No Track ” is the name given to a proposed web header that tells websites when a web browser doesn’t want to be tracked. While privacy advocates favor the move, those in the ad industry say it will undermine the way they do business.
In the former camp is Microsoft, which says it’s making the move on behalf of the average web user. “We believe consumers should have more control over how data about their online behavior is tracked, shared, and used,” Lynch said.
For Microsoft, this means turning the setting on by default, a setting that doesn’t make much sense to those in the digital ad industry.
“Their decision to set DNT by default was an overreach, and this remains an overreach,” Scott Meyer, the CEO of advertising tech company Evidon, told VentureBeat.
Unlike Microsoft, Meyer doesn’t believe Do Not Track is something anyone actually wants — least of all consumers.
“The overwhelming reaction of the industry, government, and well-informed advocates to Microsoft’s announcement illustrates that DNT should remain set to off,” he said.
Instead, Meyer wants Microsoft to leave the advertising regulation to the advertisers (something that his company makes a mint helping out with).
One of the big self-regulation bodies, the Digital Advertising Alliance(DAA), agrees, and argues that Microsoft’s DNT ambitions go against how the web works.
“Microsoft’s continued support of DNT as the default setting in IE8 risks advertising support for free and low-cost Internet in products and services,” the DAA said in a statement to VentureBeat.
In the eyes of DAA, Do Not Track is bad news not only for advertisers, but also for the web users that rely on ad-supported services. After all, advertisers are only as effective as the amount of information they have on potential consumers. And if their revenue goes down, it could have big effects on the sites (like this one) that work with them. Or so it goes.
But Microsoft isn’t showing any intention of letting up. While the company will give Windows 8 users the option to turn the Do Not Track features off, it remains to be seen whether users will bother.