Editorial: Choice on the Move

Last week, the Digital Advertising Alliance launched two new efforts to give Web surfers more control over targeted ads on mobile devices. The effort will almost certainly draw criticism from groups distrustful of anything short of government mandates. But “I’m from the government and I am here to help” is hardly a guarantee of effectiveness.

The DAA has a site where Web surfers can go to both identify and opt out of the cookie-placing and website tracking that undergirds targeted ads. This will now be extended more easily to smartphones and tablets, which makes sense given that mobile broadband is increasingly the access device of choice.

The site is easy to use, and though not every company participates, our test came up with 97 companies that had enabled interest-based ads on our web browser, from Axciom to Zedo.

The site points out that “such online advertising helps support the free content, products and services you get online,” which is the point DAA’s backers— the major advertising associations—make for opposing laws to force opt-in regimes for behavioral advertising.

With strong and effective self-regulation, the symbiotic relationship between free content and targeted ads can continue.

“These new tools from DAA show our industry’s dedication to transparency and self-regulation. This commitment… represents an ever-growing need for consumer control in the digital world,” said James Edmund Datri, president of the American Advertising Federation.

So long as that enforcement is robust, and companies participate, we agree with that assessment.