The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is making significant headway in finalizing its motion to prevent websites’ ability to track users’ activity. The FTC feels as though this is completely necessary to help protect consumer privacy. They are looking to lower the exposure consumers have to malware, so that they can browse the web confidently.
It was originally thought that individual browsers were going to give users the opportunity to opt out of being tracked by the websites they visit. As the FTC pushes forward on this movement, it is now being speculated that they will completely prohibit the ability to track entirely. The FTC is trying to offer consumers universal privacy protection, even going as far as trying to make sure that privacy settings won’t be reset if a consumer clears their cache. Ultimately, the FTC is trying to lower the risks of users being exposed to malware that could potentially be used for things like identity theft. Do Not Track was also only supposed to be targeted towards ads that were featured on websites, not it seems that the FTC is trying to extend its jurisdiction to all web content.
If “Do Not Track” gets put into action, analytics programs will no longer be able to measure the effectiveness of pay-per-click and search engine optimization campaigns. This will have a tremendous effect on the SEM world because analytics is a necessity to testing most search engine optimization tactics. It could also result in businesses spending more on pay-per-click campaigns, because if they are unknowingly paying for sponsored keywords that users don’t find relevant to their business, they won’t have the bounce rate information needed to adjust their PPC campaign accordingly. User behavior will be under the radar, so there would be no way to tell whether or not a sponsored advertisement brought them to your site for the right reasons, but either way, your business will have to pay for the privilege. This action might protect users, but it is severely limiting the marketing capabilities of businesses that depend on the web to market themselves.