Mobile ad startup Drawbridge offers technology that helps identify when multiple devices are being used by a single user — something that’s pretty appealing to advertisers, but could also have significant privacy implications. Drawbridge is announcing today that it’s partnering with privacy management company TRUSTe so that people who see Drawbridge-served ads can opt out of the targeting.
We hear about companies working with TRUSTe all the time — there are enough of them that announcements can start to feel pretty ho-hum. But the Drawbridge partnership seemed worth pointing out because it’s another sign that TRUSTe’s AdChoices model, where consumers can opt out of data collection and targeting, is spreading to mobile. And it’s also the first time that opting out has applied across multiple devices.
Founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan said that as with other TRUSTe-enabled mobile ads, ads served by Drawbridge will now carry an AdChoices icon. If you click on the icon, you’ll get the option to avoid any interest-based ad targeting from TRUSTe partners, or to avoid any Drawbridge ads. Once you’ve opted out, that choice will apply across all the devices that Drawbridge knows are yours, Sivaramakrishnan said — she described it as “a very conservative approach to privacy preference management.”
VP of Product Eric Rosenblum added, “We always felt that a strong commitment to privacy controls was going to be important to our business model.” He noted that not many people actually use AdChoices to opt out, but it’s important to offer the option, he said, because “it would be a pity to in any way inhibit [cross-device ad targeting's] growth because of people’s concerns about privacy.” And even if you don’t opt out, he and Sivaramakrishnan said that from the start, Drawbridge has not collected any personally identifiable information.
I also asked whether the approach that Drawbridge takes to privacy might change if people become more comfortable with the technology over time, and Sivaramakrishnan said, “”We want to be setting the standard around this. But look, it’s an evolving space, it’s a new space. It’s sort of the next frontier. … That’s not to say there won’t be new thought processes along the way.”
Drawbridge’s integration with AdChoices went live last week.