"Ads tailored to users' interests make online experiences more compelling and user-focused, and the new tool Yahoo is launching today will provide transparency into how Yahoo's interest-based advertising works," said Yahoo Vice President of Policy and Head of Privacy, Anne Toth. "Yahoo is committed to providing consumers with increased transparency and control when they are online. Ad Interest Manager will show users what interests we think they have, and also let them edit and change those interests to reflect the most up-to-date information." Anne Toth also pointed out: "Importantly, users who don't want interest-based ads can turn them off completely."
The tool provides a central point where Yahoo visitors can view the information used to deliver interest-based advertising. It shows them both Yahoo's educated guesses about their interests and a summary of observations, along with other information they have provided. It also provides a list of specific interest categories that Yahoo has placed a user into and lets people turn those categories off. Finally, it allows people who don't want to see interest-based ads to turn them off entirely.
The new tool allows consumers to see a summary of their online activities, including a list of the Web pages they visit and online services they use, such as e-mail and personal finance channels. It also lists a consumer's areas of interest, with categories such as consumer packaged goods, debt consolidation and automotive.
Consumers can modify their preferences and decline particular types of targeted pitches. It also lets consumers turn off targeted advertising altogether with the click of a bright yellow "Opt Out" link.
Yahoo's Ad Interest Manager is currently available in beta in the U.S. and will soon be made available to UK and European users.
To see what the new Ad Interest Manager looks like and how it works, visit http://privacy.yahoo.com/aim.
The launch coincided with a Federal Trade Commission conference on Monday about behavioral advertising, a practice used by Internet marketers to target ads by tracking where people go and what they do online.
The FTC released a set of self-regulatory guidelines for the Internet advertising industry this year. Those guidelines urge online marketers to give consumers clear notice of the information that is being collected about them and how it is being used, as well as the opportunity to remove themselves from data collection.
Yahoo was one of the first companies to implement a layered privacy center model more than eight years ago, which provides people with a central place to understand and control their privacy online, as well as their options when it comes to the use of personal data. In addition, the company's data-retention policy anonymizes most Web log data within 90 days.