May 9, 2012, 9:44 AM

Keynote Announces New 24/7 Web Privacy Tracking

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking detects the third parties collecting user information on each company’s site across all pages monitored by Keynote.

SAN MATEO, CALIF., — MAY 2, 2012 — Keynote Systems (NASDAQ: KEYN), the global leader in Internet and mobile cloud testing & monitoring, today announced a new ground-breaking, on-demand service for addressing growing Web privacy issues stemming from online behavioral targeting. The new service, called Keynote® Web Privacy Tracking, goes beyond traditional monitoring and identifies third party tracking in violation of a site’s own stated privacy policy.

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking provides comprehensive insight into third parties that violate a company’s privacy policies across a website. Using a real browser, Keynote’s service monitors websites and records all of the tracking activity present, for example, cookies being placed on the browser. Keynote then matches that activity against a database of over 600 tracking companies and over 1,000 tracking domains, providing details on what privacy policies are being violated. Additionally, the Keynote Referrer Chain feature provides a detailed record for how the third-party violator came to be on the site, and an audit trail of each handoff in the ad request.

While there are already website privacy testing solutions on the market, Keynote Web Privacy Tracking is the first to apply a proven 24/7 monitoring technology to address the growing concerns over the impact of third party trackers on Internet privacy.

By monitoring websites around the clock from up to 70 geographic locations and covering 28 countries in the United States and Europe, Keynote Web Privacy Tracking provides an unmatched breadth of coverage for understanding the precise location and size of potential privacy issues, including risks arising from variations in how ad networks deliver geo-targeted content. Once privacy violations are found, Keynote goes one step further by providing detailed and actionable records that enable a site owner to manage policy violations with the ad network directly responsible for bringing a violator to the website. Keynote’s solution also features one-click analysis and reporting – once a site operator finds someone violating a company’s own stated privacy policy, with the click of a button a site operator can drill-down for further information.

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking has a comprehensive tracking database that provides site operators with detailed information for each third party tracker on their site. Site owners can then export the Keynote Web Privacy Tracking Report and share with co-workers and ad network partners to take immediate corrective action that reduces their exposure to privacy violations.

“Keynote Web Privacy Tracking is an ideal solution that site operators can begin leveraging immediately to address their lack of visibility into which third parties are violating the site’s own stated privacy policies,” said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of product management and corporate development at Keynote. “Our data will allow them to take very fast remedial action. Also, we believe our cutting edge 24/7 privacy compliance monitoring service will help address the increasing concerns of the many U.S. government agencies examining the issue. This includes the FTC, as well as government agencies in Europe, which may soon hold site operators legally accountable for ensuring consumer privacy on their website.”

            “Online websites know that they need to publicize and enforce a strong privacy policy in order to comply with regulations, maintain goodwill with users, and ensure repeat traffic,” said Ian Glazer, research vice president at Gartner, Inc. “However those tasked with managing privacy within the organization often lack visibility into their potential privacy risk. Privacy professionals are engaging a new breed of tools to help them identify the continued risk that comes with third party cookies”

            Scott Crawford, research director with Enterprise Management Associates said, “With regulators and individuals alike becoming increasingly vocal about the responsible handling of sensitive personal data, organizations that develop and deploy Web applications must take those concerns more seriously than ever before.” Crawford continued, “Keynote’s new product provides organizations with more granular and precise insight into how sensitive information is used and privacy requirements met, not only by a business's own applications, but also by those who provide services such as advertising placement, which could jeopardize the business's relationships with its customers if private data is not handled properly.”

The results of an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the online behavioral tracking on 269[RBE1]  Websites, to be publicly released by Keynote in the near future, found that 86 percent of the sites analyzed included third-party tracking of site visitors and, as a consequence of these third parties, over 60 percent of those sites violated one or more of the industry’s most common tracking-related privacy standards.

“The number of websites that allow visitors to be tracked by third parties may be surprising to some, but as consumers begin to understand that their online behavior can be recorded, website publishers will have to work even harder to ensure consumers’ privacy expectations are met,” said Ray Everett, Keynote’s director of privacy services.

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking detects the third parties collecting user information on each company’s site across all pages monitored by Keynote. Keynote then cross-checks each tracker against a database of over 600 ad networks and 1,000 tracking domains. Tracking companies that do not commit to an industry best practice for Web privacy are then flagged as a violator of the selected policy.

Policies checked by Keynote Web Privacy Tracking include:

  • Provide customers an Opt-out
  • Promise to Anonymize Data
  • Subject to Industry Overview from Recognized Organizations

“Ultimately, the burden of policing third-party trackers falls on the shoulders of website publishers,” Keynote’s Everett concluded. “A publisher is responsible for the content of their website, including the practices of the advertisers appearing on it. Monitoring the constantly changing advertising ecosystem is a daunting task, but the consequence of failure is the placing of your brand’s reputation at tremendous risk.”

Issue and Product Background

To improve the monetization of a website, many companies allow third parties to collect visitor information in order to serve targeted ads. Advertisers track user behavior and use it to tailor specific content to individual visitors. As advertisers are willing to pay a premium for targeted ads, Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) is an industry practice allowing many parties in the content delivery chain to maximize the value of ad space.

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