Visible Measures on privacy: not so serious

April 20, 2009

Visible Measures, a video analytics and advertising network whose customers include sites like MTV and MySpace, starts off their privacy policy with the same boilerplate you can find in privacy policies everywhere:  “Visible Measures takes your privacy seriously …”

We’ve learned to take these kinds of statements with a grain of salt, and to look instead at what the companies are really doing — in ways we can see — to show that they take consumer privacy seriously.

In the case Visible Measures, here’s what we have learned so far.  

Good news, they make reference to a cookie opt-out program in their privacy policy:

You may choose to opt-out of Visible Measures’ cookies by clicking here. If you do so, that opt-out will be effective for all Visible Measures enabled sites.  Please note that it may take up to 90 days to process your opt-out request and that tracking may occur in the interim. 

Bad news:  the “opt-out” link is to an email address, privacy@visiblemeasures.com, and not  to a URL that immediately plants an opt-out cookie on your machine (like the ones provided by 50+ tracking networks).

I can’t imagine what they were thinking — that you need to email Visible Measures (providing even more information about yourself, hmmm) and they email you back an “opt out” cookie?  And this could take up to 90 days to process?  I must be missing something.

So as suggested, I sent them a note to privacy@visiblemeasures.com, thinking that maybe if nudged they might complete the promised implementation.

visiblemeasuresreturntosender

As you can see, the email bounced — no such mailbox.  Tried six hours later, and through another email provider — no success.  Emails to the press contact on visiblemeasures.com didn’t bounce.  Could it be that the privacy email address isn’t actually set up?

(According to the Internet Archive, the page and the email link have been the same since Febuary 2008; the fundamental problem doesn’t look like a temporary glitch.)

No chief privacy officer listed here or findable on LinkedIn, and none of the officer bios mentions consumer privacy as a part of anyone’s responsibilities. No TRUSTe certification.  Not so “serious” if you ask me.

While we wait for this to be corrected, Visible Measures joins the Hall of Shame, as another behavioral targeter who does not offer any opt-out choice to consumers.

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3 Responses to “Visible Measures on privacy: not so serious”

  1. Matt Cutler Says:

    Hi there: Matt Cutler from Visible Measures here. Thanks for pointing out the email bounce-back issue. We’re looking into this immediately and will follow up with you as soon it is this resolved.


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