In late 2010 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called on browser makers to add additional privacy features to their software so users can decide how much information to share with sites and advertisers.   Just a month later, leading browser developers have been announcing initial steps at doing just that.

On Monday, January 24, 2011, Computerworld reports, “A day after Mozilla said it was exploring a “Do Not Track” feature for Firefox, Google today announced a Chrome add-on that lets users opt out of tracking cookies that monitor their movement and behavior online.  Both Google and Mozilla have followed Microsoft, which last month said it would add what it called “Tracking Protection” to Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), its next-generation browser.”

For the many companies that are already running marketing automation – and have likely become very dependent on it’s impact to their Above the Funnel efforts – these browser developments could be a game changer of significant impact.  For those strongly considering marketing automation, or possibly in the process of implementing it, this is the kind of news that could bring those efforts to a screeching halt until the industry sorts itself out (with the help from the FTC).   That would be a bad move.

Rather than pretending we have insight as to where this goes and how much change it ultimately represents, we recommend companies remain committed to the fundamental enablers of marketing success in today’s B2B environment – meticulous segmenting and prospect targeting, highly relevant content, and targeted and specific messaging.  These fundamentals are the real competitive differentiators anyhow – as long as the technology playing field remains a level one for anyone choosing to play the game.

Not playing favorites, but Eloqua has a thoughtful post about this subject titled The Coming Changes to Privacy Legislation; kudos to them for getting in front of the discussion and making it part of their own messaging effort.

Want to share your thoughts on how this impacts demand generation and lead pipelines?   Let us hear from you!