The Advertising Standards Authority has yet to formally investigate a single complaint about online behavioural ads (OBA) since taking on the policing of the discipline at the beginning of last month.
The ad watchdog confirms it has so far received 34 inquiries, mainly from people who have had difficulty opting out, and general objections to cookie use. Most of the complaints have been dealt with informally.
An ASA spokesman has reportedly said complaint volumes are a “bit below forecasts”. He added: “That said, complaint levels fluctuate and we’re monitoring the situation behind the scenes to keep tabs on the type and number of complaints that are coming in and whether there are any trends that highlight the need for follow-up action.”
The move comes the online ad industry steps up its attack on Mozilla over its decision to block third-party cookies in a future release of Firefox, calling the move “dangerous and highly disturbing”, and claiming that it will result in more ads shown to users. Microsoft’s latest update of Explorer (IE10) already comes with OBA tracking disabled as standard.
The US Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Association of National Advertisers (ANA), have backed ISBA’s claim that the decision will harm consumers, hurt competition, and undermine innovation.
“If Mozilla follows through on its plan the disruption will disenfranchise every single Internet user,” said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB. “All of us will lose the freedom to choose our own online experiences; we will lose the opportunity to monitor and protect our privacy; and we will lose the chance to benefit from independent sites … because thousands of small businesses that make up the diversity of content and services online will be forced to close their doors.”
However, Robert Madelin, director general of the European Commission’s digital unit (DG Connect), recently argued that the move is a real opportunity to those who want to capture data to educate consumers and gain their trust.
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