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Yahoo Makes Targeted Ads Opt-Out, But Touts Their Benefits

I reported last week on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's superfluous investigation into behavioral advertising. It looks like Yahoo is a little scared of what the Committee may do - and what may happen to the company's impending ad deal with Google. According to CNET, "Yahoo announced Friday that consumers will be able to opt out of customized advertising on Yahoo.com."

Luckily, Yahoo did not practice the ineffective technique of apologizing for something they did without explaining why they did it. The company instead defended the virtues of targeted ads, even as it allowed users to opt out of them. CNET reports:

In the corresponding press release, Anne Toth, Yahoo head of privacy and vice president for policy, said, "Yahoo strongly believes that consumers want choice when customizing their online experience and they have also demonstrated a strong preference for advertising that is more personally relevant to them."

Yahoo's letter argued that targeted ads not only enhance users' experience with more relevant ads, but also support "a diversity of voices on the Internet."

"Bloggers or families who want to occasionally post content are generally subsidized by the advertising business model through free or reduced-cost hosting, and also through the ability to have text, graphical and even video ads appear on the site," the letter says. "This ability to make money while sharing views increases the number of viewpoints that can be taken in public debates, and surely enriches our public conversation as a nation and as a global society."

Good for Yahoo for defending the virtues of behavioral ads, not just apologizing and saying how much less bad they are than competitors.