Posted Sun 22 May 2016 10:22:15 AM PDT
But we were seated next to the head of this
advertising company, who said to me something like,
'Well, I really always liked AllThingsD and in your
first week I think Recode's produced some really
interesting stuff.' And I said, 'Great, so you're going
to advertise there, right? Or place ads there.' And he
said, 'Well, let me just tell you the truth. We're
going to place ads there for a little bit, we're going
to drop cookies, we're going to figure out who your
readers are, we're going to find out what other
websites they go to that are way cheaper than your
website and then we're gonna pull our ads from your
website and move them there.'
I think I understand what George F. Will is going through right now.
I wish I didn't.
I thought I was writing for readers who wanted to restore civilized norms.
I didn't think they just wanted an oversized angry personality who would violate those norms, but take on the establishment.
I didn't think that the readers would want to go for easy answers and bling over hard work and building a movement.
I was wrong.
The desktop Linux audience, which I thought was out there, went the same way as George F. Will's principled conservative audience.
I want the desktop Linux users back, and I want George F. Will to get his principled conservatives back. But maybe people were never who we thought they were to begin with.Posted Sun 01 May 2016 05:51:53 AM PDT
So far it has 15 users and one review -- five stars. It doesn't do much, or for very many people, but what it does do it does with five-star quality.Posted Tue 02 Feb 2016 07:52:31 PM PST
Posted Sun 10 Jan 2016 09:22:15 AM PST
I feel that the evil part of programmatic
advertising is that we are now monetizing the
No, I'm not going to do predictions for 2016. Here's something a little easier—some things that can't happen.
Adtech will beat ad blocking by cleaning up its act.
This is clearly not going to happen, because the subject of the
sentence is a group of companies, and companies don't
act in the group's interest. Some companies will
always try to get away with pushing the boundaries a
little, and when it comes to cutting back on the bad
we as an industry means Someone
Else Do It.
Matt Sweeney at Xaxis
fewer, more relevant, high-quality ads. Now,
when an adtech dude says
relevant, he means
whatever my company does. Are there going
to be fewer Xaxis ads? Well, no, just fewer of
the other guys'. Now multiply by all the other
adtech firms. Everybody's got the
ads that will displace all the others...right?
Tom Hespos suggested self-regulation of ads that "creep out" users, back in 2010. But it didn't work then, and can't work now. Users don't only visit web sites that participate in self-regulation. People have to set up their personal security tools to deal with the worst sites they encounter. After all, most email marketers don't spam, but users still need spam filters.
Reputable publishers will pay Adblock Plus 30 percent for whitelisting.
Newsroom staffs are shrinking, everyone is stuck writing desperate clickbait because there's no time or travel budget for an enterprise story, stock photos are everywhere—and AdBlock Plus wants 30 percent off the top?
In the news business, publishers sometimes have to face down government agencies, powerful corporations, and organized crime to be any good at their jobs. Adblock Plus doesn't even rate. The creepiest trackers are all in on "Acceptable Ads", but responsible publishers are too forward-thinking (and too squeezed for cash) to cough up.
User targeting will turn out to be where the money is.
The more we learn about web ads, the more we learn that Bob Hoffman had a point. The web is a much better yellow pages and a much worse television.
Marty Swant: Google Says Search Intent Matters More for Marketers Than Users' Identity. Yes, Google is talking up search, where it rules, at the expense of creepy stuff, where it doesn't, but Google does have a substantial investment in user targeting, too.
In 2006, Jakob Nielsen pointed out
much better yellow pages
model works. People have put a lot of time and
money since then into chasing
Holy Grails of putting the right ad in front of the
right person at the right time. But while each
individual user-targeting trick creates a brief
"pop", the long-term trend is a general Peak
Advertising effect for targeted
web ads, while search holds its value.
Adtech will make bank while publishers starve.
Yes, publishers are failing to replace print revenue with web and mobile. (Largely because of bad decisions long ago. Ben Brooks: They Never Even Tried For Value.)
But adtech isn't winning at publishers' expense. Sarah Sluis: With No Exit In Sight, Ad Tech Gets Lean Through Layoffs (via Marketing Land). Michael Eisenberg got this right last year.
Some of these adtech companies are venture backed and others are bootstrapped. In my opinion, the VC-backed ones will struggle to deliver their engineers much of a return. In fact, adtech is a value trap and is the farthest thing from easy money at scale.
Adtech can capture value, but not create it—the more effectively that user targeting works, the more of the signaling value of advertising gets lost.
Adtech will make progress against fraud.
easy money at scale is on the fraud side. A good
recent example is Ponmocup – A giant hiding in the
How bad is it? Bad enough that the IAB puts the numerator and denominator of the fraud ratio in separate press releases. Fortunately, I have a calculator. $8.2 billion in fraud divided by $15 billion in quarterly revenue (times 4 because the bottom part of the fraction is by quarter and the top is by year) and that's about 14 percent fraud.
I still think the 14% is on the low side. If you look at the level of access that malware has, the amount of malware out there, and the complexity of some of the attribution models that brand advertisers are using, it's pretty likely that sophisticated malware is able to avoid conversion-rate-based detection and free ride on real transactions. A user clicks on a search ad, and the attribution model gives some of the credit to a malware-generated impression delivered earlier to the same user's device.
Are attribution models developed with too much wishful thinking about the merits of user targeting, and not enough awareness of potential fraud attacks? We're going to find out.
All right, bonus link time. You probably saw these when they made the rounds earlier, but just in case you're a search engine bot looking for URLs to mark as important, check these out. (More links on the linklog feed for all you RSS fans.) Happy New Year and stuff.
Troy Hunt: How I got XSS’d by my ad network
Sell! Sell!: Nine Ways To Improve An Ad
Doc Searls: What am I doing here?
Help Net Security: Most malvertising attacks are hosted on news and entertainment websites
Tim Peterson: What You Should Know About Yahoo's Malvertising Attack
Felix Salmon: Relax, blocking mobile ads won’t kill publishers
Google Chrome Blog: Protecting users from deceptive inline installation
Ricardo Bilton: What would Kant do? Ad blocking is a problem, but it’s ethical
Bloomberg News: Thousands of apps secretly run ads that consumers never see
Martha De Laurentiis: Marketers: Stop Advertising on Pirate Sites
Nick Bilogorskiy: Huffington Post serves malvertising, again.
Felicia Greiff: 2016 Election Digital Ad Spending Will Break $1 Billion
Pat LaPointe: How to Reach Consumers in Their 'Content Cocoons'
MediaPost | RTB Insider: Are Publishers Trying To Juggle Too Much Ad Tech?
John Naughton: Is this really the beginning of the end for web ads?
Jean-Louis Gassée: Life After Content Blocking
eaon pritchard: digital advertising. where did it all go wrong?
Paul Ellenbogen: Ancestry.com can use your DNA to target ads
Noah Davis: If You Don't Click on This Story, I Don't Get Paid (via The Awl)
Alex Dixie: Technology Alone Does Not Make Great Advertising
Justin Krause: The Web-Tracking Tipping Point
Brad Frost: Living with Bullshit
SysAdmin1138: Paying for the web
Lars Doucet: Ad Blockers and the Four Currencies
Johnny Ryan: Advertising 2.0: why publishers must lead
The Uptake: Ad Blocking and the Who US?? Mentality
Samantha Bielefeld: Ad Nauseam
Yieldbot: Exploding the Lie that People Hate Ads
Massimo: Implied Contract
Baekdal Plus: The Blocking Problem
Baekdal Plus: When Tracking Goes Wrong
Dave Townsend: Delivering Firefox features faster
Walt Mossberg: Mossberg: The Real Trouble With Web Ads
BOB HOFFMAN: The Whining Of The Online Ad Industry
Massimo: A new web ads business that works
Doc Searls: How #adblocking matures from #NoAds to #SafeAds
Kaiser Fung: Why Fraudulent Ad Networks Continue to Thrive
Martin Weigel: The fracking of attention
Cog Blog: Sir Martin Sorrell Moves the Needle
MediaPost | RTB Insider: Is Programmatic Being Used By Big Agencies To Bash The Independents?
BlockAdBlock: The “Acceptable Ads” scheme is completely absurd
Chris Larsen: Malvertising Campaign Hitting Big Name Sites
David Barton: Ad Dodgers through the Ages
Hayley Tsukayama: The newest version of Firefox lets you block online trackers
Aaker on Brands: Is Big Data Killing Your Brand?
Dan LaBelle: Using HubSpot? Ad Blockers Are Costing You Leads
BOB HOFFMAN: The Glorious Revolution Continues
Simon St. Laurent: Blocked!
Idle Words: The Advertising Bubble
Chase Hoffberger: The new kings of YouTube botting
Lauren Johnson, Christopher Heine: We Brought Together the Major Players in the Ad Blocker War, and Here's What They Told Each Other
Ricardo Bilton: Venture capital gives ad tech the cold shoulder
Frédéric Filloux: Ad Blockers Will Change How Ads Are Sold
Marketing Magazine Home RSS Feed: Adblockalypse now: we need a consumer/advertiser treaty
iMedia Connection: All Feed: Look-alike targeting's new frontier
Melissa Yeager: As campaign ads move online, the public gets left in the dark
Fatemeh Khatibloo: Consumer Privacy Attitudes: A 2015 Update
Kenneth P. Vogel: The Koch intelligence agency
Josh Stearns: Why Journalists Need to Stand Up for Reader Privacy
Judy Shapiro: News Flash: Ad-Blocking Is Not Marketing's Fault
Alexander J Martin: Video malvertising campaign lasted 12 hours? Try two months
Adam Roach: Better Living through Tracking Protection
eaon pritchard: to brand or not to brand? is that a question?
Fatemeh Khatibloo: Understanding "Creepiness"
BOB HOFFMAN: Blair Witch, Zappos, Oreo, & Ice Bucket
Feeding the Cloud: Tweaking Cookies For Privacy in Firefox
Massimo: Digital Doesn’t Matter
Madeline Welsh, Joseph Lichterman, and Shan Wang: The mobile adblocking apocalypse hasn’t arrived (at least not yet)
Johnny Ryan: Despite the hype ISP adblocking is a no-go in Europe
Jascha Kaykas-Wolff: Visualizing the Invisible
Shane Goldmacher: Inside the 2016 black market for donor emails
Basil Simon: Love thy reader, securely
Kevin Drum: Don't Blame Ted Cruz for Facebook's SinsPosted Thu 31 Dec 2015 07:42:56 AM PST
Internet meetings are a pain in the behind. (Clearly online meeting software is controlled by the fossil fuel industry, and designed to be just flaky enough to make people drive to work instead.)
Here's a work in progress to get an MSIE VM running on Fedora. (Will edit as I check these steps a few times. Suggestions welcome.)
Download: Download virtual machines.
Untar the OVA
tar xvf IE10\ -\ Win8.ova
You should end up with a .vmdk file.
Convert the OVA to qcow2
qemu-img convert \ IE10\ -\ Win8-disk1.vmdk \ -O qcow2 msie.qcow2
Import the qcow2 file using virt-manager.
Select Browse, then Browse Local, then select the .qcow2 file.
That's it. Now looking at a virtual MS-Windows guest that I can use for those troublesome web conferences (and for testing web sites under MSIE. If you try the tracking test, it should take you to a protection page that prompts you to turn on the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List. That's a quick and easy way to speed up your web browsing experience on MSIE.)Posted Thu 22 Oct 2015 08:14:17 AM PDT
Users who recognize your brand will now see your advertisements displayed across thousands of websites, creating the impression of a large-scale advertising campaign, but for a fraction of the budget.
That's unrealistic. Users have figured out retargeting, and it's already motivating them to block ads.
As David Ogilvy once wrote,
The consumer is not
a moron, she is your wife. If retargeting is
something that you can explain in a blog post,
users who see it every day already have it figured out.
Users still aren't morons.
Following a user around the Internet with an ad creates the impression of following a user around the Internet with an ad. And that's about it.
Too often, adtech overcomplicates the technical side, but oversimplifies the human side. People who participate in markets are good applied behavioral economists, because they have to be. That goes for buyers as well as sellers.
The adtech scene assumes that we're in some kind of controlled experiment, where adtech people are the experimenters and users are the subjects. In fact, we're all market participants, everyone is an active player, and ignoring or blocking potentially deceptive information like retargeting is a reasonable move.Posted Sun 18 Oct 2015 07:00:50 AM PDT
News from California: Big month for conservation: Californians cut water use by 31% in July.
Governor Brown said to cut back by 25%, and people did 31%.
Why? We were watering and maintaining lawns because we were expected to, because everyone else was doing it. As soon as we had a good excuse to cut back, a lot of us did, even if we overshot the 25% target.
Today, advertising on the web has its own version of lawn care. Ad people have the opportunity to collect excess data. Everyone is stuck watering the data lawn and running the data mower. So the ad-supported web is getting mixed up with surveillance marketing, failing to build any new brands, and getting less and less valuable for everyone.
Clearly, the optimum amount of data to collect is not "as much as possible". If an advertiser is able to collect enough data to target an ad too specifically, that ad loses its power to communicate the advertiser's intentions in the market, and becomes just like spam or a cold call. By enabling users to confidently reduce the amount of information they share, advertisers make their own signal stronger. (Good explanation of signaling and advertising from Eaon Pritchard.)
Where's a good reason to justify a shift to higher-value advertising? Everybody wants to get out of the race to collect more and more, less and less useful, data. So what's a good excuse to start?
Could a good news frenzy do it? No IT company is better at kicking off a news frenzy than Apple, and now Apple is doing Content Blocking. Doc Searls covers Content Blocking's interaction with Apple's own ad business, and adds:
It's a start, but unfortunately, Big Marketing tends to take Apple's guidance remarkably slowly. Steve Jobs wrote Thoughts on Flash in 2010, and today, more than five years later, battery-sucking Flash ads are still a thing.
So even if Apple clobbers adtech companies over the head with a "Thoughts on Tracking" piece, expect a lot of inertia. (People who can move fast are already moving out of adtech to other things.)
Bob Hoffman writes:
The era of creepy tracking, maddening pop-ups and auto-play, and horrible banners may be drawing to its rightful conclusion.
But things don't just happen on the Internet. Someone builds an alternative. It looks obvious later, but somebody had to take the first whack at it. Tracking protection is great, but someone has to build the tools, check that they don't break web sites, and spread the word to regular users.
So why just look at tracking protection and say, wow, won't it be cool if this catches on?
Individuals, sites, and brands can help make tracking protection happen..
And if you really think about it, tracking protection tools are just products that users install. If only there were some way to get the attention of a bunch of people at once to persuade them to try things.Posted Sat 29 Aug 2015 07:28:16 AM PDT
In case you missed these the first time.
Corey Weiner: The Real Victims of Ad Fraud Might Surprise You
Mark Duffy: Copyranter: Native advertising is killing ad creativity (via Digiday)
Michael Sebastian: Publishers Stare Down an 'Oh Sh*t' Mobile Moment
Sell! Sell!: Advertisers Are Like Prison Cafeteria Cooks
Hacker News: The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs
Alex Kantrowitz: Ad Tech's Rough Ride on Wall Street Continues With Latest IPO
Brendon Lynch: An update on Microsoft’s approach to Do Not Track
MediaPost | RTB Insider: How Agencies Can Win The Battle Against Ad-Tech Companies
Sell! Sell!: TellUsYourStoryItis
BOB HOFFMAN: Bob's Keynote To NAB Radio Show
Christian Sandvig: The Facebook “It’s Not Our Fault” Study
John Herrman: Notes on the Surrender at Menlo Park
Jason Kint, CEO—DCN: Bad Ads: Research Shows They May Cost More Than They’re Worth
BOB HOFFMAN: Take The Refrigerator Test
Jack Marshall: Major Advertisers Are Still Funding Online Piracy
Friedrich Geiger: Facebook Like Button Lands German Sites in Hot Water
Research Team—DCN: Content Pirates and Ad Hijackers Earn $200 million a Year
MediaPost | Online Media Daily: Useful Vs. Creepy: The Jury Is Still Out
Internal exile: Quantifying quislings
Frederic Lardinois: Chrome Now Automatically Pauses Flash Content That Isn’t ‘Central’ To A Web Page
Massimo: The Problem With Targeting
Mark Duffy: Copyranter: It’s time to kill Cannes
SamuelScott: The Alleged $7.5 Billion Fraud in Online Advertising
Reuters: Business News: Ad executives cautious about growth, gear up for contract battle
Eric Picard: Fixing online advertising's privacy woes
Mindi Chahal: Consumers are ‘dirtying’ databases with false details
Jason Cooper, Integral Ad Science: Mobile advertisers need a cookie-crumb trail to follow
The Tech Block: Google’s ad system has become too big to control
Alexander Hanff: Why CTO’s should enforce adblocking on their networks
David Barton: Should Parents Adblock to Protect Kids?
Ben Thompson: Why Web Pages Suck
Darren: The “oh shit” moment for the webPosted Sat 25 Jul 2015 07:14:40 AM PDT
Bob Hoffman wants to see broadcasters standing up against adtech. He writes,
They are being taken to the cleaners by hyper-motivated digital evangelists who understand what predatory thinking means.
Here's a screenshot of a radio station site.
The purple bar on the right is a Ghostery list of all the trackers that are data-leaking the KFOG audience to the "adtech ecosystem."
So if a media buyer wants to reach radio listeners in the Bay Area, he or she can buy a radio commercial on KFOG (good for KFOG), buy an ad or sponsorship on the KFOG site (also good for KFOG), or just leech off the data leakage and use adtech to reach the same listeners on another site entirely (not so good for KFOG).
The radio station builds an audience, and the third-party trackers leak it away.
At the same time, a radio station can't unilaterally drop all the third-party trackers from the site. Protecting the audience is hard. That's where a radio station can use a tracking protection plan. Get the audience protected, stop data leakage, get more advertisers coming to you instead of sneaking around.
On air, when someone interferes with your signal you can call the FCC. On the Internet, well, this is getting too long, so just call Bob.
Related: news sites and the tracking gamePosted Mon 29 Jun 2015 07:07:54 AM PDT
Random idea for how to make some cash from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Step 1: Buy a piece of real estate in a city with a severe NIMBY problem. (See How Strong Property Rights Promote Social Equality for more info.) Sell an ownership interest in the property to a foreign company.
Step 2: Get an architect to design a building for the site that is technically 100% legal, but that will provoke a severe NIMBY reaction. Something like "Section 8 housing for TaskRabbit workers and tech bus drivers." Put up posters and buy some newspaper ads, to get the local NIMBYs fired up.
Step 3: When the local government starts giving you grief about the building plans, don't even go to the City Council meeting. Take it straight to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, and get the US Federal government to pay the foreign company for its investment loss.
Buy back the foreign company's share of the property and repeat. Do this enough times and a vacant lot could be more profitable than a luxury condo development. (Sucks to be a person actually looking for an apartment, but hey, are we going to do Free Trade or what?)Posted Wed 24 Jun 2015 07:25:36 PM PDT
"Don, it looks like you lost weight," someone said to me last week.
That is true. Since December 2013 I have lost about 15% of my body weight.
Not a rapid decrease, but sustainable so far. I'm not at my ideal weight yet, but I have made some progress, including having to buy new pants.
The main change that I had to make was to get some kind of personal Hawthorne effect going. If I keep track of how much food I eat, and make rules for myself about when I eat food, then I'm more likely to eat the right amount.
Think of it as a kind of mindful consumption thing.
I have zero claim to be an expert on this subject. I just think of it like IT spending within a company. If my "inner CIO" is doing his job, the overall level of stuff coming in the door should be manageable, even as the users keep asking for more. Sometimes, some extra stuff will get in, over the CIO's objections, but in general, the IT department can handle it and things keep working.
So let's look at today's surveillance marketing news.
The new arrangement also covers 52 countries and will "focus on creating and delivering creative video content and driving impulse snack purchasing online," according to a statement issued on Tuesday.
Hold on a minute.
"impulse snack purchasing"
I'm not allowed to do impulse snack purchasing.
My inner CIO has a snack approval policy, and my inner impulsive cookie-eater has to fill out a form and wait.
So, if you want to sell me food, you have to come in the front door and pitch the mindful eating department. Or my inner CIO will set up the filters to block you.
If you want to rely on Facebook's power to manipulate emotions instead, and try to get around the CIO, you just lost your access.
David Ogilvy once
The customer is not a moron. She's your wife.
That's being generous. The customer is a little
of both. An inner moron and an inner non-moron who
comes home and yells,
What the hell did you eat
all those cookies for, you moron?
In an environment where advertisers are trying to "engage" my inner moron, information diet is a prerequisite for food diet. I don't have Facebook on my phone, and I have the web site as a mostly write-only medium (thanks to dlvr.it for gatewaying this blog). But Facebook does have an online behavioral advertising operation. In order to protect myself from that kind of thing, I have tracking protection turned on in my browser.
I'm fortunate. For me, the consequences of impulse buying are low. Yes, I like Oreo cookies, and no, I don't trust myself not to be manipulated into eating more Oreo cookies than are good for me. But it's not that big of a deal. I'm not being targeted for predatory lending or gambling. My inner CIO could have a lot worse problems.
(If anyone has a blog about mindful eating, I should probably read it to learn more about this stuff, so let me know where to find it, please.)Posted Tue 23 Jun 2015 07:50:55 PM PDT
Jason Kint writes, in "5 Ways Industry Leaders Need To Step Up",
Needless to say I found myself shaking my head at a recent publisher event where sites were discussing how they could block Facebook from tracking their users. How on earth did this become a responsibility of the publisher to hack together a short-term solution?
It's not all the publisher's responsibility, but it's a fact of the Internet that (1) stuff keeps getting broken, often on purpose, and (2) in order for things to keep working, everyone has to keep his or her own piece safe. If you want to run a mailing list or email newsletter, you have to understand the current state of spam filtering and work on deliverability. And if you want to be on the web, you have to think about protecting your users from the problem of third-party tracking.
Do the short-term solutions right, and they don't take too much effort individually, but they turn into continuous improvement. And nobody has to wait for big, slow-moving companies to change, or worse, cooperate.
So here are five, count'em, five, quick ways to step up and make a difference in the problems of tracking-based fraud, users seeing ads as untrustworthy and blocking them, and data leakage. Should take five minutes each on a basic site, longer if you have a big hairy professional CMS.
Provide tracking warnings in page footers, to let users know when a browser is misconfigured.
Replace stock social buttons with safe versions, to avoid leaking your site's data.
Put some bonus pages behind a reverse tracking wall, to give users an incentive to get protected.
It's not the responsibility of an individual site to fix the whole problem, but there are plenty of small tweaks that can help slow down data leaks, encourage users to adopt site-friendly alternatives to ad blocking, and otherwise push things in the right direction.Posted Tue 16 Jun 2015 05:46:30 PM PDT
Academics tend to put the conversation about the targeted advertising problem in terms of companies on one side, and users on the other. A good recent example is Turow et al:
New Annenberg survey results indicate that marketers are misrepresenting a large majority of Americans by claiming that Americans give out information about themselves as a tradeoff for benefits they receive. To the contrary, the survey reveals most Americans do not believe that ‘data for discounts’ is a square deal.
Our findings, instead, support a new explanation: a majority of Americans are resigned to giving up their data—and that is why many appear to be engaging in tradeoffs.
From that point of view, the privacy paradox has an almost-too-easy answer: privacy is hard. Most users aren't seeking privacy, for the same reason that they're not training for the World Series of Poker. They would prefer winning a large poker game to not winning, but they rationally expect that unless they get really good, poker playing will result in a net loss of time and money.
But the academic model that puts all businesses opposite all users is probably an oversimplification. Advertisers, agencies, publishers, and intermediaries all have different and competing interests. Businesses are not all on the same side.
In most cases, brand advertisers, high-reputation publishers, and users have a shared interest in signaling that tends to put them into an adversarial relationship with the surveillance marketing complex. The kinds of media that are good for direct response and behavioral techniques are terrible for signaling, and vice versa.
The natural dividing line is not between users and companies, but between Team Signal and Team Targeting. Team Signal includes users, legit publishers, and reputable brands—everyone who wins from honest signaling. Team Targeting is mostly adtech intermediaries, fraud hackers, low-reputation sites, and low-quality brands.
For the business members of Team Signal, the privacy poker game has a positive expected value. Which is why independent web sites can benefit by helping their users get started with tracking protection. Users, resigned or not, are not alone.
What about the agencies?
Required reading if you're into this stuff: Pitch Mania by Brian Jacobs.
Agency managers have been quick to herald this flood of pitches as proof positive that advertisers have finally recognised what they (the agencies) have been preaching for years. Their future-gazing is they say finally coming to pass. This they contend is the dawn of a new model, based around integration, joined-up thinking, big data analytics and the rest.
Are large advertisers really just looking to switch between brands of adtech/adfraud as usual? Or will an agency that wants to keep the prospective clients awake (instead of boring them with the same Big Data woo-woo as all the other agencies) do better with a tracking protection component to its pitch?Posted Sat 06 Jun 2015 08:48:16 AM PDT
Here's a screenshot of a recent story from The Nation. Click to see full size and check out the purple bar on the right.
Yes, Ghostery detects 54 trackers on a story about web tracking. Isn't that special?
But that's not the point.
First, go back to that story and read the whole thing. If your direct experience of adtech comes from inside Marketing, from the artisan-cheeseburger-eating point of view, you're not seeing the ads that the rest of the world sees. Not only do a lot of adtech and malware look the same to users, many of the real ads are deceptive. The ad blocking problem makes more sense when you see some of the actual hinky ads out there that are motivating people to block.
Second, The Nation is rational to let those 54 trackers raid its audience. Really, even though data leakage is a bigger problem for high-quality sites than ad blocking.
Henk Kox, Bas Straathof, and Gijsbert Zwart, at the CPB in the Netherlands, explain, in Targeted advertising, platform competition and privacy.
We find that more targeting increases competition and reduces the websites' profits, but yet in equilibrium websites choose maximum targeting as they cannot credibly commit to low targeting. [emphasis added] A privacy protection policy can be beneficial for both consumers and websites.
High-value content sites are participating in ad targeting systems, even though it would be in their interest to work more like the magazine business.
If websites could coordinate on targeting, proposition 1 suggests that they might want to agree to keep targeting to a minimum. However, we next show that individually, websites win by increasing the accuracy of targeting over that of their competitors, so that in the non- cooperative equilibrium, maximal targeting results.
An individual site can't become trustworthy in an untrustworthy medium.
So what can The Nation, or any other publisher in the same situation, do about the tracking problem? Regulation might work in the Netherlands, but in the USA, it would just be subject to regulatory capture by surveillance marketers. Sites need a workable fix, a way to turn users' state of creeped-out-itude into action.
Sites can help users get protected
That's where tracking alerts come in. A high-reputation site such as The Nation can help move users from more to less trackable without interfering with existing third-party services.
Start adding more detailed tracking warnings, in place of confusing opt-out language. Finally...
Put some stories behind a "reverse tracking wall" to reward users who get protected.
Older stuff: archive