Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) put into effect the Advertising Option Icon, a button that will pop up on internet-based ads that allows users to opt out of internet tracking tools like beacons, cookies and all other varieties of online sleuthing. The button is a turquoise triangle (changed from a square, thank goodness) that seems almost designed to be missed.

Decidedly un-flashy?

The IBA consists of some internet players you may have heard of: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and plenty of other familiar faces. It’s still voluntary for IAB members to include the icon, although many of the larger companies have agreed to use it. As if the logo itself weren’t bland enough, here’s what it looks like in practice: (from

*actual size

There it is, in the upper right-hand corner of the ad in case you missed it, which it seems like you’re supposed to do. Clicking on the grayed-out icon takes you to a separate screen full of text about all of the different ways you’re being tracked. A few clicks you can finally find the “Opt Out” button. It’s a confusing, hidden process that many consumers will probably never have in the first place. Many are equally as unimpressed: (from USA Today Online)

The turquoise triangle “is another example of the failure of self-regulation to protect consumers from unwanted monitoring of every move they make on the Internet and their mobile devices.” – Carmen Balber, director of the non-profit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog

One gem in this otherwise futile attempt at saving us from being followed is the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising’s Opt-Out Page, a surprisingly user-friendly site that allows you to see which companies are currently tracking you and opt out of their advertising with a few clicks of a mouse. Probably too good to be true, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Surveys show that internet users don’t  like to be tracked. Efforts like the Advertising Option Icon show that advertisers could care less.

Jeff Howanek has 2 post(s) on Sneak Adtack