Proposed Spyware Bill Could Crush Ad Tracking

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Thread Title:
Revived Spyware Bill Could Crunch Cookies
Thread Description:

Zachary Rodgers reports on the implications of the reintroduced anti-spyware bill for ad and behavioral tracking via cookies in the clickz story threadlinked above.

While SPY-ACT creates cookie exceptions for publishers wishing to identify return visitors, those exceptions don't apply to third parties or network advertisers. "In the current bill, cookies that behave like cookies are exempt," said Pencille. "If it's monitoring your behavior when you leave [the site that placed it], then it's not covered." The bill wouldn't permit publishers to share cookie information with partners, which would cripple their ability to target ads. Passage of the bill would make illegal such widespread marketing practices as behavioral targeting, cross-site frequency capping, and network traffic analysis. Publishers and site owners are also dependent on third party tracking tools to earn the higher CPMs they've enjoyed of late.

"If cookies go away, it dumbs down publishers' ad inventory and makes it far less valuable," said Hughes. "It potentially devastates the CPA market as well. You use cookies to determine whether actions have occurred."

That would certainly knobble a few business models recently created...