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Ringleader Digital responds to pending lawsuit

Third-party ad-serving service provider Ringleader Digital has responded to a pending lawsuit alleging privacy concerns related to its Media Stamp technology.

Since there are no cookies in mobile, Media Stamp is Ringleader?s attempt to create a close equivalent of a cookie for the mobile space. Ringleader claims that there are no best-practice guidelines for this type of technology in the mobile space, but it asserts that it does provide clear opt-out instructions.

?There are no guidelines on this in mobile, but Ringleader is a co-chair of the [Mobile Marketing Association?s] standards committee and [we are] on the privacy committee to help to create them,? said Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader, New York.

?We are currently abiding by all online standards in place of having mobile standards available,? he said.

Mr. Walczak has noted the fundamental shift taking place behind the scenes in mobile advertising, which is being undertaken by digital media buyers that are now more focused on targeting users instead of channels (see story).

Here is Mr. Walczak?s letter to Media Stamp constituents:

We understand that a lawsuit was filed against Ringleader Digital and we are evaluating it carefully. To the extent that the plaintiffs are alleging that Ringleader violated any laws relating to consumers' privacy, Ringleader intends to defend its practices vigorously.

Since Ringleader?s inception, we have been committed to maintaining privacy standards that our customers and partners can count on, and that consumers have come to expect from leading electronic advertising providers.

We developed our opt-out technology to work not just until a consumer deletes cookies, as is often the case in the online world, but rather for the entire life of the consumer's mobile device.

In our order to improve transparency, and so that users never have to take our word for it, we are working on new ways for consumers to be able to verify for themselves that their opt-outs have taken effect, both on the device and through a Web site we are developing now.

Our intent since the inception of the company has been to build a mobile advertising platform that users can control. We have done just that, and we intend to make it easier for consumers to verify that for themselves going forward

But, to be clear, the opt-out we offer works. Additional information on our privacy practices can be found here:

FAQs for the Media Stamp
While Ringleader said that it does not comment directly on pending lawsuits, the company did offer the following list of frequently-asked questions:

Q: How does the Media Stamp technology work?
A: In terms of being able to deliver targeted advertising to consumers, the Media Stamp technology delivers the same functionality as the third-party cookie online.

Q: How do I opt-out?
A: Consumers interested in opting out can paste the following URL into their mobile browser:, or they can do so directly from our online privacy policy at

When a user opts out, we register the fact that they have opted out server-side, and no longer use the ID for any purpose other than to know that they are opted out.

Q: What is the RLD GUID?
A: RLD GUID is shorthand for the Ringleader Digital Global User ID, which we use for purposes of delivering targeted advertising to mobile devices.

Q: Why can?t I delete the database from my iPhone?
A: First, we recommend that users opt out by using the Ringleader opt-out functionality, located at, on online at

That said, users can delete the database from their iPhones; it just will not show that they have done so until they reboot their device.

But, it is important to note that deleting the database will not opt the user out as effectively or persistently as the Ringleader server-side opt out, which can be accessed at the links above.

Q: If I opt out, why is the database still on my phone?
A: Maintaining the RLD GUID in the database on a user's device allows us to ensure that the user's opt-out request is being honored.

Q: What is Ringleader Digital doing to address transparency in the opt-out process?
A: We are working on the following ? several of which ideas were generated by our user base following a recent press story.

We welcome any additional input that will help us evaluate how to further improve the transparency of the opt-out process.

? Clicking opt-out link on our site will change the name of the DB to OPTOUT

? Clicking opt-out link will change the GUID to a common number such as 0000000 so that the user can see that the GUID has changed and is the same as another user who has also opted out

? A site which will allow people to check and verify that they are opted out

Thank you for taking the time to hear our perspective and position on this matter.

Bob Walczak, CEO
Ringleader Digital

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Marketer