Innovation Files has moved! For ITIF's quick takes, quips, and commentary on the latest in tech policy, go to

Do Track Me… But With a Little Bit of Style!

I read an article in the Washington Post today by Michael Rosenwald which took up a theme I blogged about earlier: at least half the problem with online advertisers is that when they track you they do such a crummy job of actually sending relevant ads and offers your way.

Imagine if you knew as much about me as “they” do: what sites I visit, what I do when I go there, what I buy online.  Don’t you think you could come up with some decent ideas about what to pitch to me?

Rosenwald tried to completely open up his preferences by going directly to ad network sites and checking and unchecking preferences: flowers, but not cars, gadgets but not cars.  Please, Lord, anything but cars!

His results?

There were, however, signs of relevancy. In my day-to-day surfing, I noticed a striking increase in the number of gadget and computer ads. I noticed flower ads. I noticed about a 20 percent decline in car ads. Did I also still see ads for beauty products? Yes. Did I also see ads for Goldman Sachs? Yes. Did those ads annoy me? Yes.

Oh, well.  Maybe the right way out of “Do/Do Not Track” is: Track me, but at least respect my wishes about what to see.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email