Turns out that the Association of National Advertisers isn't any happier with Mozilla's cookie-blocking plan than the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
The ANA said today in a blog post that Mozilla's "dangerous and highly disturbing" plan to block third-party cookies by default will be "extraordinarily counterproductive for consumers and business."
The ANA adds that Mozilla's anticipated move "sends the false message to consumers that OBA (online behavioral advertising) is inherently bad without providing any meaningful background knowledge describing the innumerable benefits of being served relevant ads."
The trade group goes on to imply that Mozilla's move is unnecessary because consumers already can opt out through industry-run sites, such as the one run by the Digital Advertising Alliance.
But that argument overlooks the glaring difference between the industry-sanctioned opt-outs and cookie-blocking: Cookie-blocking prevents data collection, but opting out through an industry page only stops companies from sending behaviorally targeted advertising. In other words, companies that belong to the DAA can continue to collect data for analytics and market research even after consumers click on an opt-out link.
In fact, one of the reasons why the World Wide Web Consortium's 18-month effort to set standards implementing do-not-track has stalled is that industry representatives and privacy advocates can't agree on how much data, if any, should be collected after consumers say they don't want to be tracked.
Had the industry and advocates reached an agreement on that point, Mozilla might not have felt the need to move forward with a plan to block third-party cookies by default. But now that Mozilla has publicly said it intends to forge ahead with a patch that will block third-party cookies, rhetoric touting the industry's own opt-out program might not be enough to change anyone's mind.