AOL Sets Targeted Advertising Opt-Out

Time Warner unit will give consumers the ability to avoid behavior-based ads.

Time Warners AOL said Oct. 30 it is launching a program allowing consumers to opt out of targeted advertising based on the Web sites they visit. AOL will use technology developed by Tacoda, a behavioral targeting solutions company that AOL acquired earlier this year, to create this feature.

The opt-out advertising program will deliver millions of public service banner ads across AOLs owned-and-operated and third-party networks, which together reach more than 91 percent of the U.S. online audience.

Banner ads providing consumer advertising notice and choice are already appearing on sites in the Tacoda network.

When fully implemented by the end of this year, the program will extend to AOLs entire display advertising network.


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Currently, users who use cookies to opt out of behavioral targeting can lose their preferences if they later delete the cookies. Tacoda leverages a Web cache technique to preserve a consumers opt-out choice even if the browser cookies are deleted.

"We want to make the opt-out process as simple and transparent as possible," Jules Polonetsky, AOLs chief privacy officer, said in a statement. "We urge the industry to join us in ensuring that users who take steps to minimize the data they provide have their choices maintained."

AOL is also exploring opportunities to license this technology on a royalty-free basis for use exclusively in consumer privacy protection programs.

"Our goal with this program is to engender greater trust for targeted advertising by communicating with consumers in a more visible way, and by providing them more information about their choices," said Curt Viebranz, president of AOLs Platform A. "AOL believes that doing more to explain to users the choices they have over the way their data is used, and helping them exercise those preferences, will help them feel more in control."


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