The online and mobile privacy debate on Capitol Hill has seen a parade of some of the biggest names in the business called into hearings, including Google, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook. But nothing makes an impact in Washington like small businesses in distress, crying out for a politician to swoop in and save the day.
So on Monday and Tuesday, about 60 small publishers from 25 states will descend on Capitol Hill to make their case that without targeted advertising, their small businesses, which have annual revenue under $1 million, would probably fold.
The companies that will be meeting with legislators include a diverse group of content sites, such as: ShowmetheCurry.com, a site devoted to the glories of curry in cooking; AboveTopSecret.com, about aliens and conspiracies; IkeaFans.com, which is not endorsed by the retailer, but offers tips about assembly of and decorating with its products; and Washington City Paper, the local alternative weekly, which runs a site at WashingtonCityPaper.com.
"We hope to present a different side of the privacy story. It's not just about the big guys," said Mike Zaneis, general counsel of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. "These are the new entrepreneurs that monetize their business through advertising. They don't have premium [ad] space."
Now in its third year of organizing "the long tail alliance" of small publishers, the IAB has been rolling out a self-regulatory program that allows consumers to opt-out of targeted advertising in the hopes of fending off sweeping "Do Not Track" legislation.