Google AdSense Privacy Policy Interest Based Advertising and the DoubleClick DART Cookie

One of the most common ways to make money online by writing or any other type of website is with Google’s AdSense program.  We’ll be covering it in some detail very soon, but for now, there is an important update that you should be aware of.

Google is rolling out something it is calling Interest Based Advertising (IBA).  Theoretically, the concept is that instead of only serving up ads based on the words that are on your site, IBA would also serve up ads based on the user’s interests regardless of, or in conjunction with, what keywords or key phrases were on your webpage.

Of course, to know what someone is interested in, you either A) Have to ask them, or B) Have to keep an eye on what they are doing.

With a bazillion users a day, which one do you think Google is doing?

DoubleClick DART Cookie

This is where the DoubleClick DART Cookie comes in.  In case you weren’t aware, Google bought out DoubleClick and now owns them.  DoubleClick will be handling the IBA apparently, so the cookie that tries to figure out your interests gets served from DoubleClick. 

This is dumb on so many levels, but they don’t ask me.

What it does mean, is that the required privacy policy that your website must have for Google AdSense must now include some new language to also inform visitors to your sites that in addition to having third-party ads served by Google, that there might also be a tracking cookie from DoubleClick dropped on the user’s computer as they roam around your site.  So, you have to ad language that specifically mentions ANOTHER company that is getting their potentially private information beyond Google.  (Reason Number 1 Why This Is a Dumb Idea).

The Google AdSense website offers this guidance:

Your posted privacy policy should include the following information about Google and the DoubleClick DART cookie:

  • Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on your site.
  • Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet.
  • Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

So, if you are using Google AdSense, be sure your privacy policy is updated soon.  The official deadline was April 8, 2009.

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