Google and other advertisers argue that using methods like the DoubleClick dart cookie to track enhances website viewing experience by providing readers with advertising that matches their interests. And it is unlikely that the FTC would disagree with this position.
The sticking point is transparency and informed consent. By regulation or Congressional legislation, look for the FTC to crackdown on interest based advertising except in instances where the consumer has specifically opted in to receive such advertising.
What’s this mean for Internet marketing? Behavioral marketing will continue to exist but there will be a price to pay in order to get collect the information needed to deliver targeted ads based on reader preferences. Some type of carrot (money, special report, coupons, etc.) will need to be provided as an incentive for consumers to sign up for behavioral targeted ads and the related use of tracking cookies and other devices to collect personal data as they surf the Web.