At the IAB annual: Building trust, building business

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La Quinta, Calif.—Online publishers must work to rebuild website visitors' trust—both to fend off government regulation and boost business, a Microsoft Corp. executive said Monday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Annual Leadership Meeting here. The theme of this year's meeting is “The People vs. Data.”

“Right now the trust relationship is eroding,” Rik van der Kooi, corporate VP of Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, said in a session titled “Online Data: Sorting Out the Land Grab.”

“We operate by the digital equivalent of don't ask, don't tell. Publishers don't ask what happens to the data. ... Advertisers only leverage the output of that data. Consumers are oblivious to what's going on. That is an untenable situation.”

What's needed, van der Kooi said, is a rebuilding of trust through education and greater transparency.

“Clearly we need to strengthen the dialogue with regulators and consumers,” he said. “It's important that we have that dialogue before we have decisions made for us.”

Not only will this effort to get closer to consumers help stave off regulation, it's good for business, van der Kooi said. “We are "underachieving' the enormous potential that we could have if we had a more complete data profile,” he said.

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