It seems that once or twice a year, a politician somewhere decides that Internet users are being exploited when their personal information is passed around between advertisers without their knowledge or permission. Now, proposed legislation in New York would make it a crime for certain Web companies to use personal information about consumers for advertising without their consent. (You can read the New York Times article here.)
Needless to say, these same politicians probably have no idea that far more personal information, such as credit card purchases and family status, is routinely bought and sold between marketers with virtually no ability for consumers to control it. But the price we pay for being Internet marketers on the leading edge is the inevitable shots by people who don’t like change they don’t understand.
My guess is that such legislation will never see the light of day. Few consumers would volunteer their permission to be silently tracked from site to site. The drop-off in available advertising views would destroy countless Internet businesses that depend on that advertising revenue. On the other hand, it's a pretty interesting thought exercise to consider if most of the marketing on the Internet moved toward a fundamentally permission-based model... That could be a very good thing for everyone who reads this blog.