Notch, the creator of the popular game Minecraft, recently responded to one of AdRoll’s account managers’ suggestion that he could run a successful retargeting campaign. His response made the Reddit front page.

There’s no doubt retargeting is becoming a very popular marketing technique. Nearly all brands that have a product or service to offer are looking to run retargeting. As with any quickly emerging technology, it can cause confusion. It has been interesting to watch the discussion unfold on Reddit with comments from both sides of the argument.

We’d like to clear up any misconceptions. We think good advertising contributes to web that is  free and frictionless. Today you can hop from your own custom radio station, to your bottomless Gmail account, to the Twitter feed of a favorite comedian, to a casual game of “Words With Friends.” We’ve come to rely on these services and expect to access them for free, without paywalls or contracts. Effective advertising makes this possible.

To this end, at AdRoll, we’re building a company that helps online businesses stay engaged with people who are already interested in their products. We hope this helps our customers build their businesses through retargeting, which in turns makes web publishers money through our purchase of their ad space.  We also hope that this helps people see more relevant advertising instead of belly fat and teeth whitening ads (unless, of course, they need and want that). We’re committed to both helping advertisers run effective campaigns, and ensuring web users maintain privacy and choice in the ads they see on the web, in a way that’s 100% anonymous.

At the same time, we understand not everyone wants to be retargeted, but we’re convinced most browsers would rather see advertisements that are relevant to their interests, and prefer seeing ads based on anonymous cookie data if it’s done respectfully and helps keep the content they love free.  Retargeting ads help accomplish these goals by serving of-interest ads to browsers and raising publishers’ revenue.

Many redditors agree:


Ultimately, we strive to put users in the driver’s seat. We want people to be in control of the advertising they see, because we can’t always anticipate what they might find objectionable.  We’re marketers, and the last thing we want to do is turn people off with our advertising… that’s bad marketing.  Therefore, we’re constantly working on ways for users to control what ads they see.  If a user does want to opt-out of AdRoll’s retargeting: they can visit our opt-out page here, and we serve an opt-out option in every single ad we serve. We believe these are ok solutions today, but are working on ways to give users even more granular control over the ads they see.