Advertisers Miffed Over Mozilla's Upcoming Do-Not-Track Default in Firefox

Paul Lilly

A war is brewing, will there be casualties?

There's an interesting article in AdWeek discussing Mozilla's plans to eventually enable its Do-Not-Track feature by default in an upcoming version of its Firefox browser, which would effectively block third-party tracking cookies. Mozilla announced plans to implement DNT as a default setting months ago, though as recently as last month, the browser maker said it still needed to perform more testing. As it stands, there's no concrete release date for when Firefox will turn on the feature, we only know it's coming, and advertisers aren't the least bit happy about it.

"It's troubling," Lou Mastria, managing director for the Digital Advertising Alliance, told AdWeek . "They're putting this under the cloak of privacy, but it's disrupting a business model ."

It's easy to see why DNT technology would be popular among consumers, especially in the wake of all this PRISM business , but advertisers fear that turning it on by default would end up destroying thousands of small web publishers that need third-party targeted ads to stay in business.

Mozilla wouldn't block all cookies, and instead is working with the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School to launch a Cookie Clearinghouse. It will consist of a six-person panel to determine a list of unwanted cookies, and then block them.

Nevertheless, there's a risk this could turn ugly. For DNT technology to work, websites and advertisers have to be on board and respect the request not to install tracking cookies. They could just as easily ignore requests, and may decide to play that card if Mozilla and other browser makers play hardball.

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