ANA Board Opposes Microsoft’s Decision to Implement ‘Do-Not-Track’ Default Function for Internet Explorer 10 Browser

Letter to Management Encourages ‘Opt Out’ Model for sake of Companies, Consumers

NEW YORK (Oct. 1, 2012) – Today the Board of Directors for ANA (Association of National Advertisers) expressed profound disappointment with and strong opposition to Microsoft’s decision to implement ‘Do Not Track’ functionality in its Internet Explorer 10 browser by default. In a letter to Steve Ballmer, CEO, Bradford Smith, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer of Microsoft, ANA renewed their request that Microsoft reverse its position, which will harm consumers, hurt competition and undermine American innovation and leadership in the internet economy.  

“Microsoft’s decision undercuts the effectiveness of our brand owners’ internet advertising and undermines the industry’s self-regulatory system,” said Bob Liodice, ANA President and CEO. “It is time that Microsoft realign with the broader business community and provide choice to consumers, which is why ANA’s Board of Directors has come together to emphatically denounce this ill-considered approach.” 

The ANA is particularly concerned about the future of the internet ecosystem and a diminished interactive advertising marketplace. By setting the Internet Explorer browser to block data collection, Microsoft’s action could potentially eliminate the ability to collect web viewing data of up to 43 percent of browsers used by Americans. The result of such a large percentage of data collection being blocked would threaten the vast array of free or low cost online offerings that define the consumer online experience. The default settings will also block the personalized and relevant experiences of consumers – before consumers even have the opportunity to determine whether it is of value to them.

Microsoft’s decision marks a shocking departure from the DAA Principles. The company has been participating in the Digital Advertising Alliance program since 2008 and most recently attended a White House endorsement of the DAA program this past February. The DAA strongly opposes Microsoft’s course of action to unilaterally impose choices on the consumer, which will weaken thriving business models and reduce the availability of internet products that millions of people enjoy.

In May of this year, Microsoft announced that it was building “Do Not Track” by default into its upcoming internet browser. From the beginning ANA has been a vocal opponent of Microsoft’s decision, which has also been met with condemnation and criticism from the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and outrage from the entire media ecosystem.

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About the ANA

The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

Media Contacts:
Luna Newton
CooperKatz & Co. for the ANA
lnewton@cooperkatz.com
917.595.3061

Marcus Hardy
CooperKatz & Co. for the ANA
mhardy@cooperkatz.com
917.595.3043