Is ‘Do Not Track’ Good or Bad for Print?
It’s no coincidence then that the same day the DAA—a consortium of Internet heavyweights that agree to self-regulate online behavior advertising (including Google, Microsoft and hundreds of others in ad networks, associations, consumer product companies and media giants)—announced an agreement to voluntarily create a universal “Do Not Track” button, in all likelihood to ward off legislation to force the same. The group promised this button to be available in nine month’s time.
Whether this voluntary action can prevent legislative action is questionable. Check out the DAA’s statement of purpose at the organization’s website.
Some in the industry are already saying that this Do Not Track movement could drive marketers back to print—but it is naïve to think that this will happen en masse. The digital movement is a giant snowball rolling downhill and this legislation is not got to stop it.
What we should consider is what this type of action could mean to those that offer print e-commerce sites or integrated marketing campaigns that track user activity and preferences. That’s what pURLs, QR codes and similar technologies we’ve been adopting as part of the “marketing service provider” services do. The fact is, the Do Not Track movement can have a negative impact on one of the activities that many in the industry view as part of our evolution to provide a wider body of services.
There are already options to prevent tracking in several browsers. In Firefox, for example, there’s an option to “Tell websites I don’t want to be tracked” in the privacy preferences. There are also third-party plugins that detect and prevent tracking, including the freely downloadable DNT+ from Abine Inc.
The DNT button appears in the browser toolbar. Each time you visit a website, the button displays a number showing that the visited site is sending data about your visit to other tracking companies. A click on the button opens a window that shows just which companies would have accessed your information had you not installed the software.
Julie Shaffer is Vice President, Digital Technologies at Printing Industries of America. She heads up the Digital Printing Council (DPC), as well as the Center for Digital Printing Excellence at Printing Industries headquarters in Sewickley, PA. In her position, Julie plays a lead role in developing programs and tools to help members grow their businesses with digital technologies.
Known for her graphic production expertise, Julie has a 20-plus year background in pre-media and print. She is often called upon for training, presentations and to provide on-site consulting throughout the industry on diverse range of topics, including PDF, color management, digital printing, social media and Web-to-print implementation. Julie is co-author of several books, including "The PDF Print Production Guide" (1st, 2nd and 3rd edition), the "Web-to-Print Primer" and the forthcoming "Field Guide to Social Media."