Velti plans to announce two new initiatives aimed at helping mobile advertisers get ahead of data collection and privacy concerns, according to a source who was briefed by the company.
My source says Velti, a publicly traded mobile ad company, is working on the first “Do Not Track” list built for mobile. Consumers should be able to direct their smartphone browsers at a specific Do Not Track website, which will build a “fingerprint” for that phone adding it to a list of devices that will be blocked from ad targeting. Velti is working with partners to finalize these plans, but it might announce the Do Not Track feature this week, at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.
Attention has been growing around this issue, especially in the last few days, with the Obama Administration proposing a Privacy Bill of Rights that encourages Do Not Track efforts. A number of technology companies have been talking up their support for Do Not Track (probably because self-policing within the industry is more attractive than government regulation). For example, mobile ad network Jumptap noted that it already supports Mozilla’s version of this technology.
At the same time as it’s working on a way for consumers to opt out, my source says Velti has also developed plans for a new way to track smartphone owners — specifically one that doesn’t require a UDID (the long string of letters and numbers that’s unique to each iPhone).
Last fall, Apple revealed that it would be phasing out the use of UDIDs (presumably in response to security and privacy concerns). That could become a serious hurdle for mobile ad networks, which use UDIDs to identify their users, as well as other mobile technologies. A number of companies have been trying to find workarounds. Velti’s new technology will allow for ad targeting without a UDID, my source says.
Velti declined to comment on this story.