DoubleClick Case

Essay by tamayouUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2006

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DoubleClick, the largest provider of internet advertising, helped Web sites sell advertising to marketers. DoubleClick did this by their development of Dart technology. Dart is advertising software that offers some benefits to companies. One of these benefits is that it offers inventory management, reporting and other features that make it possible for companies to increase return on investment. Dart also allows sites "to manage all or some of their ad serving and targeting through Double Click's central servers"(Brad Alan Kleindl pg367). And, it enables advertisers to track users to the advertiser's own web sites. In addition to Dart technology, DoubleClick manages Abacus Direct, "a database of consumer buying behavior used for marketing purposes over the internet"(Brad Alan Kleindl pg367). DoubleClick also engaged in tracking the online activities of Internet users and combining that tracking data with personal information about users. As a result, the tracking of users or customers had lead to some unethical issues.

DoubleClick collected information about internet users, by placing cookies on users' computers without the knowledge or consent of Internet users. For instance, when a user visited a Web site in which DoubleClick served ads, DoubleClick read and recorded information about the user through the use of cookies. Thus, DoubleClick uses the information collected by these cookies to build its profile. In fact, this constitutes an ethical problem since DoubleClick was invading people's privacy by collecting personal information without first asking permission. People should have the right to know what information is being collected about them, how it is being used, who is receiving it, and most importantly the right to easily refuse on-line profiling. In fact, the issue of privacy is very important to internet users since they are afraid that information gathered by DoubleClick and other marketing companies can end up in the...