Our Bill of Rights

We don't have the right to remain silent, no matter who we are. We the marketers need to demand transparency from those we do business with. We the consumers need to vocalize our privacy concerns, though it's hard to speak out about issues we don't understand. We the search engines need to be more outspoken in educating our constituents. We the press need to use our powers responsibly.

We all have rights. We'll share some of them today to further the dialogue among all of us.


  • We have the right to know where our ads run. We reserve the right to protect our brands, which some of us have spent billions of dollars building, while others of us have tied our corporate brands to our personal reputations.

  • We have the right to review whether any clicks are fraudulent for our own campaigns. If the major search engines tell us that hardly any clicks are the result of some type of fraud, we expect to learn how they came to that conclusion. If search engines refund us for a certain number of clicks, we expect to know how the refund was calculated. We assure the search engines that the greater good of sharing information with marketers outweighs the threat of potentially sharing secrets with click fraud practitioners.



  • We have the right to reach out to consumers who are looking for us, and we will exercise this right through search engine marketing.


  • We have the right to know who's cookie-ing us, why they're cookie-ing us, and what the heck a cookie is. We reserve the right to delete a cookie or eat a cookie as we see fit. We reserve the right to learn more about the benefits of cookies, tracking, and targeting, though it's hard. There's so much we don't understand, and it scares us. We're tired of being afraid.

  • We have the right to know who has access to our personally identifiable, and even unidentifiable, information. We reserve the right to pick and choose who has such information. We reserve the right to a less fulfilling online media experience by limiting access to such information. We reserve the right to act against our own self-interests. As Hobbes once remarked to his friend Calvin, "We're stupid that way."

  • We have the right to hand over our information willy-nilly for anything that is cool and/or useful enough. We will hand over our grandparents' and grandchildren's social security numbers if an experience fulfills our needs and desires, such as making it easier to connect with a loved one, or viewing exposed parts of Lindsay Lohan's constantly disappearing and reappearing anatomy.

    Search Engines

  • We have the right to search, organize, and link to every piece of content we can find, unless it has been tagged with a "do not index" sign.

  • We have the right to act in the consumer's best interest. If that means employing more sophisticated levels of targeting for our advertising, we will do so, while respecting our users' privacy.

  • We have the right to the tremendous responsibility that we have claimed. We have become the central gateway that consumers and businesses use to access information. We are, in many ways, the gateway to the world. We have the right to tell you, if we let down our guard over drinks one night, that sometimes the responsibility is a burden. We reserve the right to envy being in your shoes instead of ours sometimes, though we also are in the right to take great pride, overall, in how responsible we've been.

    The Press

  • We have the right to educate our readers. We reserve the right not to rest until we get meaningful answers. We reserve the right not to oversimplify stories into black-and-white issues, yet we reserve the right to distill information so that overly complicated stories are told in ways our readers can understand them. We reserve the right not to resort to scare tactics, unless there is really something to be scared about, which is rare. We reserve the right to communicate with our readers as we best see fit, and we appreciate the right we now have to hold a dialogue with them.


  • You have the right to write in with your rights, and more importantly, you have the right to exercise them.
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