July 17, 2013 09:00 ET

TRUSTe Finds Online Tracking Running Hot for Summer's High Season

TRUSTe "Website Monitoring Privacy Index: Travel Edition" Reveals Widespread Third Party Tracking Across Travel Industry Sites Worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 17, 2013) - TRUSTe, the leading global privacy management solutions provider, today released its "Website Monitoring Privacy Index: Travel Edition," outlining findings of third party tracking occurring across 25 travel industry websites worldwide, including global travel portals and websites for U.S., European Union (EU), Middle East and Asian airlines. Using its Website Monitoring Service, TRUSTe uncovered extensive behavioral tracking across these sites. TRUSTe found 373 unique companies responsible for user tracking with nearly 1,200 tracking incidences. Leveraging its scanning technology, TRUSTe also determined that advertising related tracking represented the majority of all third party tracking occurring on the sites.

"While the amount of behavioral advertising is not surprising, our data reinforces the critical need for businesses to better understand what's occurring on their websites," said Chris Babel, CEO for TRUSTe. "The need for greater understanding is two-fold. First, unauthorized tracking can have significant consequences for businesses, including lack of consumer confidence, lost revenue and poor sight performance. Second, with complete data, businesses can be fully transparent to customers, so they, in turn, are more informed of their privacy choices, for example, when browsing travel industry sites this summer season."

Key Findings -- TRUSTe Website Monitoring Privacy Index: Travel Edition
Leveraging its industry-leading technology the Website Monitoring Service, TRUSTe analyzed the top 25 travel industry sites, proactively monitoring all tracking activity with the highest degree of third party detection available. In reviewing travel sites, the TRUSTe Website Monitoring Service uncovered:

  • A total of 1187 tracking occurrences spread across:
    • Global travel portals - 516
    • U.S. airline websites - 386 
    • EU airline websites - 262
    • Middle East and Asian airline websites - 23
  • Third party tracking averages of:
    • Global travel portals - 65
    • U.S. airlines websites - 40
    • EU airlines websites - 66
    • Middle East and Asian airline websites - 12

TRUSTe also found of the third parties discovered, 55% were advertising related. Further, the majority of these advertising third parties have affiliations with the DAA, IAB, IAB Europe or the NAI, whose policies are on the forefront of privacy best practices. You can see full details of TRUSTe's findings at

What Data Means for Businesses and Consumers
TRUSTe's findings show the need for both additional insight and proactive management of third party tracking occurring on sites. Without this data, businesses are restricted in their ability to protect their digital assets and manage consumer privacy. Ongoing monitoring delivers essential protections in today's highly complex digital ecosystem -- empowering businesses to make more informed choices, ensure regulatory compliance and maximize site performance by preventing unauthorized trackers from decreasing load speeds and reducing revenue loss.

The data also reflects a growing and unstoppable shift toward online behavioral advertising (OBA). Behavioral advertising offers consumers many benefits -- often including the best pricing deals and free related content. Businesses that are fully transparent about what's occurring on their sites and are sensitive to consumer concerns have been shown to have the most success in OBA. For example, TRUSTe research has consistently shown that consumers want clear notice and choice regarding online tracking. By giving consumers options to support their privacy preferences, businesses build integrity for their brand and can support consumers that value free online behavioral advertising and let users exercise their own choices.

About TRUSTe
TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across web, mobile, cloud and advertising channels. Our cloud-based Data Privacy Management Platform delivers innovative technology products, including website monitoring and advertising compliance controls -- along with privacy assessments and certifications. More than 5,000 companies worldwide, including Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, LinkedIn and Oracle rely on our DPM platform and globally recognized Certified Privacy Seal to protect/enhance their brand, drive user engagement and minimize compliance risk. For more information, please visit

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