One week ago, I published an open letter to the Network Advertising Initiative, in which I complained that the behavioral advertising opt-out cookies offered by many NAI members had been set to shamefully short periods of time -- in some cases, as short of six months.
Over the past few days, executives from many NAI member firms contacted me to let me know that they were shifting to a better policy. I outlined the updated policies of those companies in this blog post.
This morning, I was contacted by the Executive Director of the Network Advertising Initiative, who informed me that the group will be requiring that all NAI member firms set their opt-out cookies to last at least five years. I expect to see news of this posted to the NAI site in the next few days.
Depending on your perspective, you could either see this as:
1. A sign that the industry can effectively and rapidly police itself when notified of a problem, or
2. Proof that the industry has for nearly a decade offered crippled opt-outs that silently vanished just a few months after the consumer expressed their wish to not be tracked.
While it is quite fun to see the industry scrambling to perform emergency damage control in response to my blog posts, it is pretty pathetic that I had to do this at all. This multi-billion online advertising industry should not depend upon a single graduate student to keep it honest.