New Attribution Methods – Where’s the Line?

Wall Street Journal View on Privacy – Some Food for Thought

A recent Wall Street Journal article – Ad Networks Bypass iPhone Privacy Rules – criticized two UDID-less attribution methods – ODIN and OpenUDID – as potentially opening doors for privacy issues. The article has prompted discussions across the mobile advertising industry, and has the potential to generate further uncertainty and confusion during a period when the mobile industry is working very hard to transition away from the UDID.

Here at Fiksu, we’ve been vocal about this evolving topic, and while we have a different perspective than the WSJ authors on privacy risks associated with ODIN and OpenUDID, we recognize that many brands have serious concerns. We’d like to offer additional commentary that did not make the story.

First and foremost, the article implies that “tracking” is synonymous with the collection of personally identifiable information (PII) – which is simply not the case. In fact, IDs for both ODIN and OpenUDID methods are NOT linked to PII at all. In addition, OpenUDID has no link to the hardware device. There are other safeguards in place to protect consumers with these methods – OpenUDID has an opt-out mechanism, for example. 

There are other available attribution methods that do not share IDs across apps that were overlooked in this piece. Cookies are private and non-shareable on iOS, and digital fingerprinting does not utilize an ID at all – it instead uses combinations of non-unique attributes of the device such as IP address and header information to statistically estimate conversions.  

Ideally, a single solution supported by Apple would be the best method for mobile marketers. Some have even speculated that Apple will unveil a UDID alternative during its highly anticipated WWDC 2012, taking place next week in San Francisco. But for now, each available attribution technology on the market has its limitations.

We recently introduced our iOS SDK Version 2.0 to help our customers future-proof their businesses and reach the broadest range of mobile network and traffic sources, while effectively balancing consumer privacy. We realize that some attribution methods available today could be potentially scrutinized, so we’ve opted to support the broadest range of methods possible including and beyond the UDID. This gives organizations the freedom to disable any methods they may not be comfortable with. And as marketing dynamics continue to rapidly evolve, our SDK enables marketers to change supported forms of attribution as needed.

If you are interested in learning more about SDK Version 2.0, please join us for a free webinar, "Marketing Attribution – Beyond the UDID" on Friday, June 15 at 11:00 a.m. EST. To register, visit http://www.fiksu.com/resources/webinars/marketing-attribution-beyond-udid

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