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Device Fingerprinting Firm BlueCava Makes Tracking Opt-Outs Easier

  |  January 31, 2012   |  Comments

Platform update aims to help clients comply with EU's ePrivacy Directive.

fingerprintingBlueCava released a new version of its device identification platform, saying it will help its clients comply with the European Union's ePrivacy Directive.

BlueCava provides device identification technology, sometimes known as digital fingerprinting, that claims to help businesses improve online advertising effectiveness and reduce fraud risk. The company's technology previously offered marketers the option of storing local files on user machines. The new release, now generally available, supports both the opt-in and opt-out models. The new release also works with PCs, smartphones, laptops, game consoles and set-top boxes, the company said.

Modifications to the EU's ePrivacy Directive, which went into effect in the U.K. in June 2011, require marketers and website owners to get specific consent from European users before using cookies or other tracking technologies. Because BlueCava doesn't use cookies or place any code on a user's device, the company says no notification is needed when its technology is being used.

Says David Norris, CEO of BlueCava, "Once we've identified a device, we can provide information about that device's history so a business can decide how it wants to interact."

BlueCava clients put its technology into their websites; BlueCava runs a hosted service that identifies a device as it makes a browser request. The company maintains a separate database of device profiles for each of its clients so that the anonymous behavior history of a consumer on one retailer's site does not commingle with the same consumer's history on another's.

Web publishers and retailers can pull BlueCava behavioral data into standard analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics or Omniture, to better target content and ads.

Another benefit, according to Norris, is that each consumer's opt-in or opt-out choice is stored remotely, rather than on the device.

"With cookies, if the user deletes the cookies, you lose that. We remember what choice you make, and the choice is specific to the site," he says.

Norris said the company is still on track to identify 1 billion devices by the end of its fiscal year, ending mid-2012. In October 2011, it closed a $9.5 million round of new funding led by S3 Ventures, saying the cash would help it expand.

On the mobile cookie front, in November, Evidon and Tapad announced an agreement to develop and refine notices and opt-out practices for online behavioral advertising on mobile web properties. Tapad is a digital advertising solution for real-time mobile audience buying and cross-device targeting, while Evidon is a provider of "Ad Choices" notifications to consumers in North America and Europe. The agreement extended Tapad's access to Evidon InForm throughout the EU.

Online cookies may not disappear any time soon, but as media moves to mobile, there are signs that mobile cookies may find less acceptance than the desktop flavor. In June 2011, Ringleader Digital, a provider of third-party mobile cookies, shut down after it settled a federal class-action lawsuit alleging that its Media Stamp technology did not give cell phone users a clear and effective way to opt out of being tracked.


Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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