Publishers and advertisers ignoring IE 10's do not track

A few months ago the online ad industry was in a panic when Microsoft announced that “Do Not Track” would be the default setting in its new version of Internet Explorer. But rather than sit back and let Microsoft have its way, online publishers and advertisers rebelled.

They complained during Ad Weekthey wrote lettersthey even promoted ignoring Do Not Track. And they’re not just all talk; many publishers (most notably Yahoo!) are actually going through with their threats, and by ignoring “Do Not Track,” they effectively render it useless.

In a recent Ad Age article, Kate Kaye details her experience with IE 10 and that she was behaviorally tracked despite using the Do Not Track setting:

“DNT should have made me invisible to ad trackers, thus turning my online-browsing experience from relevant-messaging bliss to a belly-fat-ad nightmare. The reality was quite different.”

Considering that advertisers and publishers have said that they will ignore Do Not Track, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Kaye’s experience is telling in that it demonstrates that Microsoft and other web browser developers may have the ability to default to Do Not Track, but publishers don’t have to adhere to the practice.

So what does this practice mean for online advertising? Kaye isn’t sure but she thinks Microsoft may actually have a bigger problem on its hands:

“I had trouble loading several sites, including CafeMom, CNET, Hulu and, in IE. And on sites including and, ad-landing pages did not load in IE, either.”

It’s important to point out that the online ad industry isn’t opposed to the idea of “Do Not Track,” per se. Publishers just don’t appreciate the fact that Microsoft would choose to make this setting automated rather than allowing users to make the decision to enable it.

Further, they would rather have self-regulations rather than one sanctioned by Microsoft.AdChoices is a good example of this.

In the coming weeks, I hope the Microsoft execs behind this initiative release a statement or blog post on how “Do Not Track” has fared so far with any statistics or examples of success. Or perhaps they’ll announce that it didn’t quite live up to the hype and change the default setting.

We’ll make sure to keep you posted, but before you go, we want to hear from you:

Do you support the defaulted “Do Not Track” setting?

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