A Simple Plan
While fair-minded consumers might not like being tracked, most will acknowledge that they personally and directly benefit from the vast free digital media that is subsidized by ad targeting. At the same time, digital media companies know full well that most users didn't read their respective terms of service agreements that legally allow them to track for advertising purposes.
As such, there are some simple steps that digital media can take in a matter of days or weeks to take active control of their businesses and tenuous audience relationships, i.e. fill the Hetcherian privacy norm gap
. It is based on the simple premise of re-establishing the intrinsic quid-pro-quo about user data-sharing in exchange for free media. Some though-starters
- Block free-riders. Yes, that's right. This means severely limiting or altogether blocking the ad targeting cookie rejectors, likely cookie-deleters and those using ad-blockers. While this may anger the fringe activists and total traffic may even suffer, the real question digital media need to ask themselves is so what?
- Require registration or paid access. Surprisingly, this is still an anomaly today. Instead of hoping people read the TOS, greet users pleasantly and offer them a clear choice, to either:
- Share anonymous information about their interests and/or behavior with advertisers and get free unfettered access; provide a plain English explanation of what is tracked and how (use a colorful diagram) with clear acceptance of the Terms of Service. Thank them for their continued support and find ways to make it worth their while
- OR, ask for them to pay a nominal subscription instead and receive no/un-targeted ads
- Monitor the results and adjust
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