Wide adoption of Do Not Track technology isn't just about slapping a button on web browsers. Even after Chrome, Safari, Firefox and IE support user-imposed limits on ad tracking, publishers must honor the Do Not Track signals their browsers will generate when individuals choose to opt out.
With the ad sector, Federal Trade Commission, and U.S. Commerce Department officially throwing their weight behind Do Not Track, big ad sellers are obliged to get serious about honoring those requests.
Among the first to do so is Yahoo, which has begun rolling out global support for the Do Not Track standard, and expects to complete the process by early summer.
Here's how it works: When someone with Do Not Track activated visits any site where Yahoo has data collection in place, a signal is sent to Yahoo's servers. This could happen via a Yahoo-owned site or network partner. Once the opt-out is set, the request will apply to all future interactions with Yahoo, so long as the user doesn't switch browsers.
"When our servers receive the DNT signal, this activates our existing opt-out process. With DNT turned on, Yahoo! will no longer score your activities for advertising or content interests and no longer personalize your ads and content based on those interest scores," Shane Wiley, VP of privacy and data governance, wrote in a blog post today.
Several Yahoo platforms and properties already honor Do Not Track signals, among them Right Media, Interclick, and some individual Yahoo properties. A Do Not Track opt-out triggered through any of these channels is honored across the Yahoo network.
Yahoo has been early to adopt other self-regulatory efforts. Three years ago, it created an Ad Interest Manager, giving users transparency and control over their profiles for behavioral targeting and data collection. And it claims to have been the first to incorporate the AdChoices behavioral ad icon during 2010.
"We support the Yahoo efforts announced today to meet the DAA commitment made at the White House in February…" Stuart Ingis, counsel to the Digital Advertising Alliance, which oversees the AdChoices program, said in a statement. "We look forward to the others in DAA honoring browser based choice as an additional means of honoring consumer choice in accordance with DAA Principles."