Archive for October, 2012

In Support of a Personalized User Experience

Friday, October 26th, 2012

At Yahoo!, we aspire to make the world’s daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. Our users have come to expect a personalized Yahoo! experience tailor-made for their lives — whether they’re checking local weather, sports scores, stock quotes, daily news, or viewing ads on our site. We fundamentally believe that the online experience is better when it is personalized.

That said, we also believe that there should be an easy and transparent way for users to express their privacy preferences to Yahoo!. That’s why we offer our own tools and resources such as Ad Interest Manager, to give users more control over personalized advertising on Yahoo!, and why we participate in industry-wide programs such as AdChoices, which allows users to learn why they’ve been shown an ad.

Yahoo! has been working with our partners in the Internet industry to come up with a standard that allows users to opt out of certain website analytics and ad targeting. In principle, we support “Do Not Track” (DNT). Unfortunately, because discussions have not yet resulted in a final standard for how to implement DNT, the current DNT signal can easily be abused. Recently, Microsoft unilaterally decided to turn on DNT in Internet Explorer 10 by default, rather than at users’ direction. In our view, this degrades the experience for the majority of users and makes it hard to deliver on our value proposition to them. It basically means that the DNT signal from IE10 doesn’t express user intent.

Ultimately, we believe that DNT must map to user intent — not to the intent of one browser creator, plug-in writer, or third-party software service. Therefore, although Yahoo! will continue to offer Ad Interest Manager and other tools, we will not recognize IE10’s default DNT signal on Yahoo! properties at this time.

Yahoo! is committed to working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to reach a DNT standard that both satisfies user expectations and provides the best Internet experience possible. We will closely evaluate our support for DNT as the industry makes progress in reaching a meaningful, transparent standard to promote choice, reduce signal abuse, and deliver great personalized experiences for our users.