Advertisers to Microsoft: Reverse Course on Do Not Track Browser

ANA members ask for immediate dialogue

Advertisers came out swinging today against Microsoft’s new browser, Internet Explorer 10, which automatically defaults to Do Not Track. The move by Microsoft to include this feature setting stunned the Internet and ad communities which had agreed and received government support to implement an opt-in Do Not Track feature across all browsers by the end of the year.

Despite repeated pleas to Microsoft from advertisers and even Federal Trade Commissioner chairman Jon Leibowitz to change course, Microsoft hasn’t budged and recently defended its decision in a recent Adweek column.

Hoping to put more pressure on Microsoft and requesting an “immediate dialogue” to talk about the decision, the board of directors for the Association of National Advertisers, representing more than 450 companies and 10,000 brands, wrote to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other Microsoft execs.

“It is time that Microsoft realign with the broader business community and provide choice to consumers, which is why ANA’s board of directors has come together to emphatically denounce this ill-considered approach,” Bob Liodice, ANA’s president and CEO said in a statement.

In the letter, the ANA board of directors, which includes executives from companies such as General Mills, McDonald’s and Kraft Foods, argue that Microsoft’s default browser will undercut the effectiveness of Internet advertising. More consumers would not be tracked, and therefore, fewer ad dollars would be available to support free content.