Monday, July 27, 2009

Behavioral advertising opt out cookie expiration update

Updated on July 28 with news from Yahoo! and 24/7 Real Media
Update again on July 29 with news from Microsoft and Fetchback

Just a quick update regarding the open letter I published to the Network Advertising Initiative last week, regarding the shamefully short expiration dates assigned to the opt-out cookies for many of the NAI members.

Within 6 hours of the letter hitting my blog, I received an email from Doug Miller, the head of privacy at AOL, informing me that the opt-out cookies for AOL's and TACODA had been set to such short periods of time because of a bug and that his team had since changed them to expire in 2099.

The next day, the CEO of BlueKai contacted me to let me know that the six month expiration for his company's opt-out cookie was also a bug, and that his team was changing it to expire after 5 20 years.

Also on Friday, I was contacted by a representative from Media 6 Degrees, who informed me that the six month expiration for their opt-out cookies was an engineering oversight. They informed me that by July 31st at the latest, the company's opt-out cookies will be set to expire after 10 years.

Media 6 Degrees also made it a point to state that "[W]e agree with, and fully support, the assertion that the NAI should define and require a minimum expiration time for all member out-out cookies."

Yahoo! announced on Tuesday July 28 that they will be changing their opt out cookie to expire after 20 years. Yahoo! was even nice enough to give me a shout out in the official blog post announcing the change.

24/7 Real Media contacted me on July 28th to let me know that they have changed their opt out cookie to expire after 30 years.

On July 29, I was contacted by Microsoft's privacy team to let me know that (which is not a member of the NAI) will also be shifting to five years. Atlas, Microsoft's advertising platform, is an NAI member and already had a 5 year expiration to begin with.

Also on July 30, the folks from Fetchback tweeted to let me know that as of today, their opt-out cookie is now set to expire after five years.

Not so much love from Yahoo!

While the 24 month expiration date for Yahoo's opt out cookie isn't as bad as the 6 months for some NAI members, it still isn't anything to be proud of, particularly when the company's major competitors have set an example by adopting opt out expirations of 30-60 years.

I contacted a senior member of Yahoo's privacy team, who informed me the company plans to add some language to the Yahoo opt out web page that will inform consumers of the fact that they will need to revisit the page every 2 years. However, the Yahoo executive I spoke with showed absolutely no interest in lengthening the expiration date of the company's opt out cookies.

So much for bold leadership Yahoo.

1 comment:

Silona said...

DUE DATE AUG 10th! - fed's looking input on cookie policy

are you participating?