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Personalization vs. Privacy
Questions on Ethics in Software Engineering Raised by the DoubleClick / Abacus Direct Merger

Term Paper for the Software Science (CS 346) class at The University of Montana - Missoula, submitted December 1, 2000.

This paper describes the process of delivering targeted advertising messages to World Wide Web users and the resulting privacy concerns. After introducing the underlying cookie technology and advertising concepts, the paper discusses the implications of the merger of online advertising agency DoubleClick, Inc. and direct mail services provider Abacus Direct Corp. which gives DoubleClick the potential to associate anonymous user profiles with actual names and addresses. The paper finally presents the self-regulatory principles for online preference marketing established by the Network Advertising Initiative and closes with notes on the effectiveness of banner advertising.

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