Opt-in represents the high ground position in this debate even though it would be a short-term challenge adapting to an infrastructure devoid of cookies from catalogue buyers, banking and online transactions, and visitors to online car sites. The consequence of a limited cookie environment would by default regulate Do Not Track and the data collection process.
The Online Ad Industry will argue that an opt-in rather than opt-out is an industry killer. Our argument is that the FTC recommendation has effectively eliminated the opt-out option anyways. Privacy advocates, at least three separate congressional bills, and the FTC are all telling us in no uncertain terms – "stop collecting". Give consumers universal rights and controls for managing their personal information.
The industry needs to evolve, and even though systemic adjustments would need to be made, there are alternatives to cookies, online tracking, and an obscure "opt out" policy. Public information that is not sensitive in any way can be applied to online audience targeting if done the right way. Used in combination with sample transactions, propensity models that identify prospective customers can be derived without any possible challenge to privacy. These audiences will offer better reach and the targeting will be more effective.
IP Zones is an example of an online audience targeting solution that allows marketers to apply publicly available information to create predictive models to define audiences and point advertisers to the best possible prospects. IP Zones clusters users of similar affluence, life stage and buying behaviors into virtual pools of IP Addresses that can be reached through any ad server when the prospect is online. IP Zones provides nearly 100% reach an improved level of accuracy because the data being applied in the model is able to define whether the user is in the market and whether they can afford your offer. IP Zones vigorously protects consumer privacy because there are no cookies, no users are being tracked, and no data about that user is ever collected or resold.