Apple Adds Do-Not-Track to Safari Browser

  |  April 13, 2011   |  Comments

The introduction leaves Google's Chrome as the only major browser without a do-not-track mechanism.

Apple looks set to include a do-not-track feature in the new version of its popular Safari web browser, which will enable users to specify their desire not to be tracked or targeted by online marketers.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the feature is bundled with the latest test version of Apple's new Lion OS X operating system. Currently only available to developers, the system is slated for public release this summer.

The introduction means a form of do-not-track mechanism is now present in the latest versions of every major U.S. browser besides Google's Chrome, after Microsoft and Mozilla implemented features in their IE9 and Firefox 4 browsers, respectively, earlier this year.

Google has, however, launched a Chrome extension called "Keep My Opt-Outs," which allows users to opt out of being tracked by companies participating in industry self-regulatory efforts lead by the Digital Advertising Alliance. The plugin applies to tracking from those companies alone, though, and represents a slightly different approach to the blanket-based opt-out intended to be achieved through header-based browser mechanisms.

Browser-based opt-outs function by broadcasting a do-not-track header - or signal - as they move across the web. Publishers and third parties such as ad networks can receive and interpret that signal, and in theory refrain from tracking or serving the behavior of that browser.

The mechanism relies, however, on publishers and ad providers agreeing to honor those do-not-track requests. To date the only company to have publicly announced its support for do-not-track is Associated Press, which said it will not track users with its News Registry audience measurement service if they chose to enable the feature.

The Associated Press itself noted that its own sites still carry numerous other third party cookies, though, which highlights the complexity and difficulties surrounding the concept of a browser-based do-not-track feature.

Ultimately, without legislation compelling them to do so, advertisers and technology providers appear unlikely to honor do-not-track headers, as the data gleaned from users' browsers is of great value for ad targeting and conversion-tracking purposes.

UPDATE: This story was edited to include information about Google's Chrome browser extension, "Keep My Opt-Outs."

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack Marshall

Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Web Writer
      Web Writer (Money Map Press) - BaltimoreDo you have a passion for the markets and investing, and writing? Do you want to spend your days providing...
    • Web Production Specialist
      Web Production Specialist (Money Map Press) - BaltimoreMoney Map Press is looking for a self-starter to perform and oversee the production of daily...
    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Downers GroveWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager...