Internet Marketing: Is Regulation Coming?

Lawmakers are looking at regulating the ways Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, and the like track Web-surfing patterns to aid marketersThe impetus to regulate online marketing may be gathering steam. On June 18 a House of Representatives subcommittee held a hearing to take a closer look at how advertisers gather and use information on consumers’ Web-surfing habits.Up to now the government has had a hands-off policy toward online marketing, giving companies relatively free rein in how they use tools that track what people do online and then use that data to deliver tailored marketing messages. Although regulation is likely to be far off, it would surely rewrite how Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook, and a wide range of other Internet companies grapple for share in the $25.7 billion online ad market.

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