AdSense interest-based targeting: how many publishers are on board?

June 26, 2009

When Google rolled out interest-based targeting in March, they called on each of their Adsense publishers to revise their privacy policies:

Your posted privacy policy should include the following information about Google and the DoubleClick DART cookie:

* Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on your site.
* Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet.
* Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

So, now that we’re three months past the announcement, just how many AdSense sites have complied with this directive and opted-in to interest based advertising?

Other than some apocryphal findings, I haven’t seen a reported number, but perhaps one rough way to measure it is to see how many privacy policy pages the search engines show as having that required link to Google’s privacy policy. Each search engine provides its own answer:

On Google – 93,600
On Yahoo! – 78,000
On Bing – 21,100

That’s a wide variation, but even if you take the high one, you’re still talking about what’s likely a small percentage of the total number of AdSense sites, although potentially a high percentage of AdSense traffic (only Google knows).

Does this reflect publisher hesitation about behavioral targeting? Uncertain impact on ad revenue? Inattention?  AdSense malaise?


NB This decidedly unscientific exercise depends on the construction of my search query, which no doubt may be interpreted differently by each search engine. Here’s the query:

“privacy policy” AND link: OR “”

The idea is to only capture pages that (1) are site privacy policies; and (2) either have the URL in searchable text or have the URL as a hypertext link.

If there are any search experts out there with suggestions on how this query could be structured better, please let me know!


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