Making Tracks Visiting “The Trackers”
Since last January, I’ve been traveling across the United States to meet with companies engaged in online behavioral advertising (also called interest-based advertising). I have met with scores of engineers, entrepreneurs, program managers, privacy counsel, executives, business leaders, and policy advisors from nearly 20 different entities. Companies ranged from some of the largest industry players in California’s Silicon Valley to small startups crammed into the converted lofts of New York’s Silicon Alley. The labels for the companies vary – networks, exchanges, data management platforms, to name a few. Regardless of label or specific business model, the companies I met with enable online advertising targeted to perceived interests that are inferred from users’ online activities.