From the Archives: “10 consumers a day opt out”

I was digging in the old archives from when I was an analyst at Jupiter (1999 to 2003). Amazing stuff. Think back. It was August 17, 1999, the Jupiter Online Advertising Forum, and the keynote was Kevin O’Connor of Doubleclick. Thinking about the privacy debate, I thought his comments back then over 10 years ago were quite interesting. Here is the verbatim from part of the Q and A session:

The important thing about privacy policy is that you actually state what you do and you don’t do different things, because when you do that, it’s fraud. And that’s really, if you look at all the privacy cases that come up, it’s usually based on fraud. People say that I’m not going to take your data and sell it and they turn around and they sell it. That’s fraud. If you tell a consumer, look, we are going to take your data and sell it, maybe you’re a free ISP or something, that’s how you make money, that’s fine. Congress doesn’t have a problem with that.

The other one is, you know, really disclosure and that’s back to the privacy policy. But it’s giving people the choice, the chance to opt out. You know, we put a system in place two and a half years ago where people could opt out of the cookie at any time. And it’s a single click. It’s very, very easy. Most places, I don’t think anyone else has an opt-out system. It’s really, really bad. You’ve got to give consumers choice.

Now, people are afraid of giving consumers choice because they think that consumers, oh, geez, if they have a chance to opt out they’re all going to opt out. We have, we reach about 100 million consumers a month and about 10 a day opt out. The reality is that in many cases, privacy is more of a press issue – there’s probably press in here today and I’m going to regret this — and there are definitely some consumers that care, but the consumers that care want to have a choice. And once you give them that choice, it really takes the issue off the table.