Adconion adds opt-out cookie (sort of)

April 3, 2009

UPDATE:  A representative of Adconion wrote today to confirm that they have fixed the opt-out feature on Firefox (thanks!).  It is still important to integrate the opt-out action in our wizard, which I will be discussing with them and will report back.  Stay tuned.

I have had an entry in the opt-out database for Adconion for some time, but (sadly) no opt-out process.  I sent two emails to their privacy officer (2/27 and 3/11) asking about the lack of an opt-in.  No reply in either case (unlike the vast majority of privacy officers with whom I’ve corresponded).

Adconion is an interesting one, since they announced a big data sharing partnership with BlueKai, which seems to aggregate behavior data for quite a few people (142 million, they say).

capture1Now thanks to the page-change monitoring service I have started using (kudos to watchthatpage!), I was alerted that Adconion’s privacy page had changed.  Low and behold,  there’s now a page purporting to be an opt-out process, to which the main privacy policy page now links.

To make sure I didn’t miss it the first time around, I checked the Google cache page as of March 26 — no mention of an opt-out process, so this is new.

As of the date of this post, no announcement of this on their site.  But I suspect this is the impending new opt-out referred to here.  

So good news — another ad network is providing an opt-out choice.  In this case, it looks like the text of the opt-out cookie is non-unique, even better (and therefore will show up in TACO shortly, I’m sure).

Here’s the problem — the Adconion opt-out doesn’t work very well on Firefox. Although things were fine on IE and Chrome, clicking that choice in Firefox gave no response on three different computers, until I happened to first click the opt-in button and then the opt-out button, which sometimes would do the trick.  I know, stuff happens, but this would have been an easy one to spot.  (Here’s a tip:  if our server logs are any indication, people who care about privacy overwhelmingly tend to be on Firefox, so you really need to nail it for them.)

By the way, to the folks at Adconion, if you want to bother adding an opt-out process, you really should link it from your top page, rather than burying it under the “Company” section.  The name of the game here is capture-consumer-trust.  You need to believe it, and you need us to believe that you believe it.  

Along those lines, here’s an idea:  send me a clean URL that initiates the opt-out, and we will get it into the opt-out wizard lickey-split.  

BTW, it doesn’t seem like you’ve got the cycles to reply to privacy questions by email, and I actually tried calling today, only to be routed curtly to an extension voicemail with a generic greeting.  As an alternative, I’m just including the names of your officers in this post — in case any of you are listening via Google Alerts and want to send this problem over to QA.  You guys will get a better response than me, no doubt.  😉

T. Tyler Moebius

Matthias Quadflieg

Jeremy Daw

Keith Kaplan

Ben Fox

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