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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Referrers, Marketing and Attention

Adam Fields posted an interesting proposal yesterday, suggesting that browsers should not send referrer data. He's suggesting that browsers are sharing too much information, specifically with third party sites, who will obviously collect and analyze this data.

I can appreciate the privacy concerns he's noted, especially around the data collected by large companies who own so many properties we use on a regular basis, either directly or indirectly.

Removing referrers completely would be a shame of course. They are very helpful for many marketing metrics in our industry. I think the key is to always be very deliberate with your privacy policy, and very transparent to your visitors as to what data you are collecting, and how you will use it.

And I just can't write about these topics anymore without re-emphasizing how dramatically the efforts of the AttentionTrust folks will change how we frame this discussion. In the near future, Marketers will not be looking at their own traffic exclusively when they analyze their visitors. But rather, they will be "asking" (and/or paying) their visitors for information about their interests and needs.

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