Online trackers promise to open up their data

Posted by Kate Taylor

A group of online tracking companies is promising to allow consumers to see what data is being held on them.

The Open Data Partnership incudes 33 Across, Bizo, BlueKai, Demdex, eXelate, Lotame, Safecount.net and Turn. The initiative will allow consumers to view and edit the information held on their interests and demographics. They can also opt out altogether.

The initiative is being led by Better Advertising Project. "ODP marks a huge step forward for our industry, with leading businesses coming together to bring more trust to the online community," it says.

While some of these companies previously allowed users to view this data on their own sites, the ODP plan is to bring it all together in one place.

The betteradvertising.com website will allow users to see what in particular has made them the target of an individual ad by clicking on an icon. They can then edit or remove that information.

The information provided includes income band, interests and the like. The companies say that none of them sells, distributes, or otherwise deals in personally identifiable information, and that none will be accessible as part of the program.

The group is aiming to recruit more members - the incentive for them is that they'll get detailed feedback on how consumers are interacting with their data, and that it will presumably become more accurate.

While comparatively few organisations have signed up as yet, many more support the Digital Advertising Alliance. This recently introduced a new self-regulatory program for its members - and the ODP platform is currently the only one endorsed by the DAA to demostrate compliance.

The site will go live in January.