Yahoo said Friday that it will allow users to opt out of custom ads on its network.
The move comes a day after Google provided a one-click opt-out as it integrates DoubleClick into its operations.
Yahoo said in a statement that its policy change was in response to a Congressional inquiry. The company said:
This new opt-out capability is expected to be available for consumers by the end of August. Users will be able to access the opt-out in the Yahoo! privacy center, which is linked on the home page and nearly every page on the Yahoo! network. Users will also be able to access the opt-out through a link in the public service advertising campaign Yahoo! has been running with online ads across its network to educate users about customized advertising.
With any luck Yahoo will make it easy, but it looks like there are numerous opt-outs for Blue Lithium, Right Media and Yahoo. Yahoo also sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which was investigating the custom ad procedures of 33 companies. Here's the key excerpt from the letter:
As one of the leaders in the online advertising market, Yahoo! strongly believes that consumers are responding to the customization of online content and as the relevancy continues to evolve, they will continue to realize the benefits of relevant advertising that saves time and money. However, we understand that there are some users who prefer not to receive customized advertising so we want to offer them a choice.
We also continue to explore ways to create greater transparency and control for users. For instance, when we serve advertising for partners like eBay or the consortium of nearly 800 newspapers, users can choose to opt-out of receiving customized ads from either a link on the ad or the partner site. We believe this is particularly important since it is not always obvious to all users that ads are served by different entities among web sites. By offering an opt-out in these innovative ways, we hope to offer users greater transparency and choice.
The devil will be in the details.