DoubleClick CEO: Collecting user data is no crime

By Mary Jo Foley, Sm@rt Reseller NEW YORK -- DoubleClick recently may have run afoul of privacy advocates, but the company isn't backing away from plans to continue to collect personal information on consumers for customized advertising. DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor defended his Internet advertising company's privacy policies on Tuesday, during remarks he made here in the opening keynote of the Silicon Alley 2000 conference.

By Mary Jo Foley, Sm@rt Reseller

NEW YORK -- DoubleClick recently may have run afoul of privacy advocates, but the company isn't backing away from plans to continue to collect personal information on consumers for customized advertising.

DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor defended his Internet advertising company's privacy policies on Tuesday, during remarks he made here in the opening keynote of the Silicon Alley 2000 conference. DoubleClick is currently the target of a Federal Trade Commission privacy probe.

When asked whether he would still purchase direct-marketing-data firm Abacus Direct -- which collects and aggregates data on consumers' online shopping and buying habits -- O'Connor didn't flinch.

"There's lots of misinformation, with people associating a particular name with bad behavior," O'Connor told keynote attendees. "We're focused on nonsensitive marketing information. We want to make advertising more relevant. ... No one in marketing wants to use [this data] against consumers."

Ads make the Net go round
O'Connor defended DoubleClick during the question and answer session following his Silicon Alley 2000 keynote, entitled "The Future Of The Internet."

Silicon Alley 2000 is a three-day conference sponsored by Rising Tide Studios, the publishers of the Silicon Alley Reporter magazine. More than 1,000 people are registered to attend the fourth annual conference, which has attracted well-established exhibitors, including Arthur Andersen, IBM, Intel Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., along with Web integrators like Snickelways Interactive, Xceed Inc. and Zefer.

O'Connor spent most of his keynote making predictions about the future of the Internet. Not surprisingly, given DoubleClick's advertising and marketing focus, he was bullish about the potential of advertising to fuel the Net's explosive growth going forward. As more and more services and products, ranging from ISP services to e-mail, are given away for free, advertising will continue to make the Web go round, he claimed.

O'Connor also predicted that content filtering, not push, will emerge as the key way to deliver customized information to consumers.

"The power is shifting from businesses to consumers," O'Connor said. Borrowing a marketing slogan from Organic.com, O'Connor told attendees, "It's not about B-to-C [business-to-consumer]; it's about C-to-B."

The great personalizer
One enabler of greater content customization will be ad personalization, O'Connor said. But ad personalization requires the collection of custom data, he maintained.

The result? "It's a privacy paradox," O'Connor said. "We think consumers are very, very comfortable with giving up personalized information for customization. We have been at the center of this [privacy vs. custom-data collection] debate. But we've gotten a tremendous amount of industry support. People realize for the Internet to remain free, you need advertising."

"Our stance is tell people what you want to do and give them a choice," O'Connor added.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All