Giving respect to brand advertising, by Doc Searls, is the latest chapter in the blog conversation about the problems that targeted web advertising poses for web publishers and brand advertisers. It's fun to speculate about big-picture fixes, such as finally cleaning up trackability problems in the browser. But that's potentially slow-moving development work. Fixing an old software bug that people have had to work around always is.
So is there anything that brand advertisers can do today? Not changing the industry, or changing the ecosystem, but items we can take to the meeting we have to have about this stuff this week?
I'm inclined to say yes. (Otherwise I would have had to stop writing right here.)
Avoid making decisions based only on online metrics. The chances are good that at least one fraud ring or overenthusiastic intermediary is tainting those numbers. Sales numbers and offline surveys are harder to mess with.
You can "advertise online" using media that create online echoes. You can have a presence at events covered online, or even stick with TV and other old-school advertising that doesn't have the fraud problems of online. (Ever notice that people post TV commercials on social sites, but not the other way around?) Stick with search ads where they work, but avoid throwing money at fraudulent online display and video ads.
Reward your existing customers for using privacy tech. If your brand is related to computers at all, help people load up and use Privacy Badger. And run an exclusive area of your site, just for privacy tech users, that offers some exclusive product, service or other benefit.
The point is not to prevent customers from being "poached" by adtech-using competitors, but to push yourself into the future by a few years. You can't change the whole technology market, but the sooner you have some experience working with privacy-enabled customers, the better.
Privacy tech is a crisis for many intermediaries, but an opportunity for brands. Have fun with it.
Social media reputation can be a way to measure some customer-facing aspects of the business, for some product categories (Not necessarily—some social sites are terrible at this.) Social media can be a way to get a second chance to fix customer service issues that dropped on the floor. But you can't build reputation in social media.
The brands that have good social media reputations are the ones where customer-facing employees have a good attitude. You can't fix this with "social media marketing." You have to do the whole enchilada for everyone who talks to a customer: decent pay, reasonable schedules, don't order people to abuse or deceive customers, all that.
It's a waste of time to do perky social media marketing that contrasts with stressed-out service people—even the best Social Media Manager can only make things look worse.
Remember when Apple took a stand against Adobe Flash and a zillion post-Flash web development products popped up? Now, Apple is taking a stand against creepy advertising. We can expect privacy to be a Thing, and there are certainly startups brewing in the post-creepy space. But for brands, it's not just time to pass the popcorn and wait for the IT industry to fix privacy. There's low-profile work to do that will help you today.Posted Sat 20 Sep 2014 06:38:42 AM PDT
Is advertising ruining the web? Ethan Zuckerman writes,
I have come to believe that advertising is the original sin of the web. The fallen state of our Internet is a direct, if unintentional, consequence of choosing advertising as the default model to support online content and services.
Is the web ruining advertising? Bob Hoffman writes,
[T]he advertising industry has become the web's lapdog – irresponsibly exaggerating the effectiveness of online advertising and social media, ignoring the abominable results of display advertising, glossing over the fraud and corruption, and becoming a de facto sales arm for the online ad industry.
Advertising can be a good thing. Some of my favorite cultural goods are leftovers paid for by advertising at its best. There should be a way to make advertising work for the web, the way it has worked for print magazines.
But Hoffman and Zuckerman are both right. Web advertising has failed. We're throwing away most of the potential value of the web as an ad medium by failing to fix privacy bugs. Web ads today work more like email spam than like magazine ads. The quest for "relevance" not only makes targeted ads less valuable than untargeted ones, but also wastes most of what advertisers spend. Buy an ad on the web, and more of your money goes to intermediaries and fraud than to the content that helps your ad carry a signal.
From Zuckerman's point of view, advertising is a problem, because advertising is full of creepy stuff. From Hoffman's point of view, the web is a problem, because the web is full of creepy stuff. (Bonus link: Big Brother Has Arrived, and He's Us )
So let's re-introduce the web to advertising, only this time, let's try it without the creepy stuff. Brand advertisers and web content people have a lot more in common than either one has with database marketing. There are a lot of great opportunities on the post-creepy web, but the first step is to get the right people talking.Posted Sat 13 Sep 2014 08:03:45 AM PDT
Dave Winer writes,
The idea is to start a great flow of news to Twitter and Facebook, while enabling new networks to boot up on the open web, building on the RSS support.
When you post using Radio3, you're helping a new open web news network boot up. It's like using solar or wind energy, or riding a bike instead of driving. It's good for the environment.
Linklogs aren't new. Some examples...
Some cool things about Radio3 are...
It's easy to use
It hooks up to Twitter, so you can share links with both your free-range web friends and with Twitter users.
Anyway, if you don't have a linklog because it's too hard, you might want to give Radio3 a try. When everyone else is writing long anguished blog posts about how Twitter is burying your links by going from neutral "following" to some kind of secret algorithm, you can already be set up for whatever the new thing is. (If you try it, please mail me and let me know your linklog URL.)
These are from old linklog links. Worth a second look if you missed them the first time they went past.
Mike Hadlow: Coconut Headphones: Why Agile Has Failed
Dr. Michael Wu: Consumers under the influence
Jeremiah Shoaf: Taking A Second Look At Free Fonts
Adactio: Our Comrade The Electron
Alexis C. Madrigal: A 26-Story History of San Francisco
Angie Schmitt: Smart Growth America: Sprawl Shaves Years Off Your Life
Ian Morris: The Slaughter Bench of History
Charlie Stross: Generation Z
- Barton Hinkle: The Dumbest Federal Policy You'll Read About Today
michaelochurch: 3 mean-spirited HR policies that can kill a tech company.
David Kopel: The First Amendment Guide to the Second Amendment
Zack Weinberg: Redesigning Income Tax
MediaPost | Online Media Daily: White House Warns 'Big Data' Can Lead To Discrimination
Benjamin Ross: The Counterculture Looks for Parking
Geoff Shullenberger: Work and Non-Work under Digital Capitalism
inessential.com: The Old Reader on Good Ol’ RSS
Jonathan Cohn: Gallup: Uninsured Rate Is Lowest We've Ever Recorded
Tyler Cowen: Some neglected Gary Becker open access pieces
Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large: Yes, we're in a tech bubble. Here's how I know it
Josh Harkinson: Will American Pot Farmers Put the Cartels out of Business?
Digg Top Stories: Should Your Job Exist?
Peter Suderman: The Ethanol Disaster
Greg Storey: And They All Look Just the Same
The Old Reader: behind the scenes: In Defense of Publishers
Geoff Shullenberger: Corporatization and the Bullshit Jobs Effect
Chris Hulls, Life360: Patent trolls have come after my startup. I’m fighting back
Nelson Minar: Scribd and Quora considered harmful
Nathan Donato-Weinstein: Younger and wealthier, Caltrain riders opt out of traffic
Ricardo Hausmann: Piketty’s Missing Knowhow
Cory Doctorow: What's the story with the Makerbot patent?Posted Sat 06 Sep 2014 03:19:53 PM PDT
Marketplaces tend to consolidate (PDF). Sellers go where the buyers are, and buyers go where the sellers are. Repeat, and everyone is trading in the same place. No surprise that it's happening in online advertising.
Not only are the natural economics in favor of consolidation, but the big marketplaces have more Big Data than the little ones. Megan Pagliuca from Merkle Inc. explains, in Counterpoint: The Third-Party Ad Server Has A Big Future.
The large media platforms with logged-in identity data are in the best position to enable individual level cross-device measurement as well as get the industry past its dependency on the third-party cookie. They may not be independent and objective, but they are well-positioned to solve the problem. Now let's play this out. It’s a year from now and Google and Facebook are operating their ad servers off of IDs that are derived from logged-in identity, rather than off of third-party cookies.
So where does that leave you? If you're one of the best minds of Jeff Hammerbacher's generation, working away in some corner of the LumascapeTM, what happens when the gold rush ends? The new efficient, centralized multi-screen surveillance marketing system won't have a standing desk for everyone. As ever, it's a cubicle job for whoever ends up inside the big winner, and on to the Next Big Thing for everyone else.
Jérôme Segura: A look at a double-dipping advertising network
John Naughton: We shouldn't expect Facebook to behave ethically
Nicholas Carr: Cluetrain crashes, casualties widespread
Arvind Narayanan: No silver bullet: De-identification still doesn’t work
Jim Sleeper: New shots heard 'round the world
The Daily Stat: Beware the CEO Who Is Showered with Awards
michaelochurch: Greed versus sadism
Jeff Jarvis: No silver bullets
Rebecca Jeschke: Stop Sneaky Online Tracking with EFF's Privacy Badger
Lauren Johnson: Half of Smartphone Owners Don't Want Their Locations Tracked
MediaPost | Online Media Daily: Ad Exchanges Unclothed
BOB HOFFMAN: The Consumer Is In Charge. Of What?
brokenrhino: Wladimir Palant's notes: Which is better, Adblock or Adblock Plus? (via ReadWrite)
Fatemeh Khatibloo: The Evolution Of Consumer Attitudes On Privacy
Doc Searls: What do sites need from social login buttons?
Mark Weinstein: Europe Declares War on Facebook
Sean Blanchfield: So Long, ClarityRay
Jeff Jarvis: Unoriginal sin
John McDermott: Why Facebook is for ice buckets, Twitter is for Ferguson (via Nieman Lab and ... My heart’s in Accra)
Dave Zatz: Amazon Launches Ad Network
Lockstep Blog: It's not too late for privacy
Denelle Dixon-Thayer: Trust should be the currency
eaon pritchard: red stitching turn-ups and creative publicity
ydklijnsma: Malvertising: Not all Java from java.com is legitimate (via Security Affairs)
Tony Finch's link log: Some "dark patterns" of underhanded e-commerce are now illegal in the UK. (via taint.org: Justin Mason's Weblog)
Brenda Barron: Mozilla launches browser ads for Firefox
Cooper Quintin and Jeremy Gillula: Blocking Consumer Choice: Google's Dangerous Ban of Privacy and Security AppPosted Sat 06 Sep 2014 08:56:51 AM PDT
One of the main reactions I get to Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful is: why are you always on about saving advertising? Advertising? Really?
Even when I do point out how non-targeted ads can be good for publishers and advertisers, the obvious question is, if I'm not an advertiser or publisher, why should I care? As a member of the audience, or a regular citizen, why does advertising matter? And what's all this about the thankless task of saving online advertising from itself? I didn't sign up for that.
The answer is: Because externalities.
Advertising can have positive externalities.
The biggest positive externality is ad-supported content that later becomes available for other uses. For example, short story readers today are benefitting from magazine ad budgets of the 19th-20th centuries.
Every time you binge-watch an old TV show, you're a positive externality winner, using a cultural good originally funded by advertising.
I agree with the people who want ad-supported content for free, or at a subsidized price. I'm not going to condemn all advertising as The Internet's Original Sin. I just think that we need to fix the bugs that make Internet advertising less valuable than ads in older media.
Advertising can have negative externalities.
On the negative side, the biggest externality is the identity theft and other fraud risk inherent in large databases of PII. (And it's all PII. Anonymization is bogus.) The costs of identity theft fall on the people whose information is compromised, not on the companies that chose to collect it.
In 20 years, people will look back at John Battelle's surveillance marketing fandom the way we now watch those 1950s industrial films that praise PCBs, or asbestos, or some other God-awful substance that we're still spending billions to clean up. PII is informational hazmat.
The French Task Force on Taxation of the
Digital Economy suggests a unit charge per user
to address the
dangers that uncontrolled practices
regarding the use of these data are likely to raise
for the protection of public freedoms.
But although that kind of thing might fly in
in the USA we have to use technology. And that's where
regular people come in.
What you can do
Your choice to protect your privacy by blocking those creepy targeted ads that everyone hates is not a selfish one. You're helping to re-shape the economy. You're helping to move ad spending away from ads that target you, and have more negative externalities, and towards ads that are tied to content, and have more positive externalities. It's unlikely that Internet ads will ever be all positive, or all negative, but privacy-enabled users can shift the balance in a good way.
Don't punch the monkey. Embrace the Badger.Posted Fri 29 Aug 2014 06:16:08 AM PDT
Posted Mon 25 Aug 2014 09:21:47 PM PDT
While ad fraud hurts the brand, every other party
benefits from its existence. This alone has buoyed ad
fraud's overwhelming survival in the industry. Bot
operators, of course, end up pocketing a significant
chunk of the $140 billion of overall digital ad spend.
But it's not just the botmasters or fraudulent site
owners that benefit. Buyers in the space have long been
winning incremental budgets from advertisers by buying
artificially well-performing impressions. Open
exchanges and supply side platforms (SSPs) are
responding to a demand for inventory by buying cheap
scale from unknown publishers with limited transparency
into the quality of those sites.
Set up a temporary directory to use in a Bash script, and clean it up when the script finishes:
Posted Fri 22 Aug 2014 11:46:57 AM PDT
TMPDIR=$(mktemp -d) trap "rm -rf $TMPDIR" EXIT
Ethan Zuckerman calls advertising The
Internet's Original Sin. But
is overstating it. Advertising has an economic
and social role, just as bacteria have an
important role in your body. Many kinds
of bacteria can live on and around you just
and only become a crisis when your immune system
The bad news is that the Internet's immune system is compromised. Quinn Norton summed it up: Everything is Broken. The same half-assed approach to security that lets random trolls yell curse words on your baby monitor is also letting a small but vocal part of the ad business claim an unsustainable share of Internet-built wealth at the expense of original content.
But email spam didn't kill email, and surveillance marketing won't kill the Web. Privacy tech is catching up. AdNews has a good piece on the progress of ad blocking, but I'm wondering about how accurate any measurement of ad blocking can be in the presence of massive fraud. Fraudulent traffic is a big part of the picture, and nobody has an incentive to run an ad blocker on that. The results from the combination of fraud and use of privacy tools are unpredictable. Paywalls are the obvious next step, but there are ways for sites to work with privacy tools, not against them.
What Ethan calls pay-for-performance is the smaller, and less valuable, part of advertising. Online ads are stuck in that niche not so much because of original sin, but because of an original bug. When the browsers of Dot-Com Boom 1.0 came out in a rush with support for privacy antifeatures such as third-party tracking, the Web excluded itself from lucrative branding or signaling advertising. The Web became a direct-response medium like email spam or direct mail. Bob Hoffman said,
Recent news, from Kate
Tummarello at The Hill: Tech
giants at odds over Obama privacy bill.
Microsoft is coming in on one side, and
a group of mostly surveillance marketing
the united voice of the Internet
economy is on the other. There's no one
original sin here, but there's plenty of opportunity
Jeff Jarvis: Absolution? Hell, no
Jason Dorrier: Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry
BOB HOFFMAN: Confusing Gadgetry With BehaviorPosted Sun 17 Aug 2014 05:21:35 AM PDT
This is a quick privacy check.
(If you're reading this on the full-text RSS feed, or a site that consumes it, please click through. It won't take long. If you're looking at this on the blog homepage, please click the title to look at the individual post. The buttons are only on the individual post pages.)
Do you see the "social sharing" buttons at the bottom of this post, at the end of the text but above the miscelleneous links and blogroll? I just got an automated report that people are actually clicking them.
If your privacy tools are up to date, you shouldn't be seeing any big web site logos here. The sinister buttons should be blocked by any halfway-decent privacy tool.
If you don't see the buttons, you're already doing something that's making a difference. Carry on.
If you have a privacy tool installed and think you should be protected, but are seeing the buttons anyway, please let me know and I'll help you troubleshoot it.Posted Sun 03 Aug 2014 08:00:28 AM PDT
(updated 27 Jul 2014: add Gannett ad revenue)
Hard to miss the Facebook earnings news this week.
Let's take a look at those numbers. (I'd like to fill in more and better data here, so any extra sources welcome.)
Mobile ads: 62% of FB ad revenues.
Total US FB ad revenue: $1.3 billion.
Which would make mobile US revenue for the company about 800 million. (Other countries are heavier on mobile, so this might even be high.)
Americans spend 162 minutes on a mobile device per day of which 17% is Facebook. So figure about 28 minutes per day on average. (Average of all US "consumers", not just mobile or Facebook users.)
That's double the time spent reading the printed newspaper.
US users spend an average of 14 minutes/day on printed newspapers. (Average of newspaper readers and non-readers. Just print, not web or mobile.)
But how are newspapers doing with the ad revenue?
Even after a sharp decline, newspaper print ad revenue in the USA is at $17.3 billion/year. That's the 2013 number, so it's reasonable to expect it to continue to come down as newspaper-reading time continues to decline.
Let's say it comes down another 10 percent for this year (which is faster than trend, and Gannett's print advertising is only down 6% this quarter compared to a year ago) and take a quarter of that. That's $3.9 billion.
So the newspaper brings in more than four times as much ad money by being in front of users for half the time. The newspaper completely lacks all the advanced behavioral targeting stuff, and Facebook is full of it.
What's going on here? Why is Facebook—the most finely targeted ad medium ever built—an order of magnitude less valuable to advertisers than the second-oldest low-tech ad medium is?
Here's my best explanation so far for the "print dollars to digital dimes" problem.
Advertising is based on a two-way exchage of information. You, the reader, give advertising your attention. Advertising gives you some information about the advertiser's intentions. That's often not found in the content of the ad. The fact that it's running in a public place at all is what builds up your mental model of the product, or brand equity.
On the other hand, advertising that's targeted to you is like a cold call or an email spam. You might respond to it at the time, but it doesn't carry information about the advertiser's intentions. (For example, you might be the one sucker who they're trying to stick with the last obsolete unit in the warehouse, before an incompatible change.)
As Bob Hoffman, Ad Contrarian,
Online advertising has thus far proven to be a
lousy brand-building medium. Walk through your local
supermarket or Target or Walmart and see if you can
find any brands built by online advertising. So what
is web advertising good for? Thus far, it has been
effective at search and moderately effective at a
certain type of direct response.
Without the signaling/brand building effect, those targeted Facebook ads don't pull their weight, and come in at less valuable than newspaper ads.
I'm not saying we should go back to dead trees, but clearly mobile is leaving money on the table here. What's the solution? Paradoxically, it's going to have to involve some privacy tech on the user's end—preventing some of the one-sided data flow towards advertisers in order to introduce signaling effect.Posted Sat 26 Jul 2014 07:43:05 AM PDT
Ted McConnell, on AdExchanger: Advertising Fraud: It’s Time For Asymmetrical Warfare.
When you have an enemy that’s shape-shifting, agile, belligerent, invisible, greedy, fast and brilliant, you have a problem. Welcome to what military strategy people call asymmetrical warfare. It looks like terrorism. They lie about their identity. They only have to be right once. There are no lines in the sand. You can’t tell them from the good guys. They adapt.
It's actually worse than that. The best fraud rings only have to be better than the worst ad networks. The fraud perpetrators get to pick which network to attack, while the network doesn't get to pick which fraud perpetrators it deals with. The feedback for fraud is relatively quick. It's cheap and easy to try it on a small scale by buying or generating a little bit of bad traffic and seeing what happens. It's easy to decouple the parts of fraud that you're good at from the parts that you need help on, because that's how adtech is networked to begin with. Finally, the expected consequences of failure are small.
Where this piece gets problematic is in suggested solutions for dealing with the adtech fraud problem while keeping the adtech system intact. (Adtech, privacy, and fraud control, you can only have two.) Of course, this means abandoning privacy.
For example, "Make a publicly provided 'white list' of humans, accessible as a service to all transactions," and "tighten up Internet access...make sure an antivirus is in place." So in order to beat adtech fraud, McConnell wants to have (1) a white list of all humans and (2) control over all client systems (to verify that antivirus). Even the DRM maximalists didn't get that much.
And what happens while this perfect system of total control is being rolled out? Older clients, and humans who aren't on the white list of humans, will still be out there, so most of the fraud gets to continue. And by the time the system of control is in place, someone will subvert it for legit reasons.
If total Internet lockdown isn't going to happen, how do you beat fraud? A better answer is to turn the privacy up, not down: Adtech fraud: you can't cheat an honest man.
Jon Udell: It’s time to engineer some filter failure
Atul: Does Privacy Matter?
Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau: IAB Head: 'The Digital Advertising Industry Must Stop Having Unprotected Sex' (via The Drift from Upstream)
David Rogers: Bad adbots and the vanishing CMO
Robin Hanson: Why Do Firms Buy Ads?
Doug Weaver: Dead internet ideas: The "right" to targetPosted Tue 22 Jul 2014 05:20:02 AM PDT
Let's look at the scorecard for the surveillance marketing game. The mainstream coverage would choose up sides like so:
- Advertisers (brand and direct reponse)
- Adtech vendors
- Ad-supported sites
- Platform vendors
- Elitist Internet greybeards
- Privacy hackers
- Unaccountable Eurocrats
- Fraud perpetrators
Not so good for the privacy side. But if you do some research, the scorecard probably actually looks like so:
- Direct response advertisers
- Low-value ad-supported sites
- Adtech vendors
- Fraud perpetrators
- Dominant platform vendor
- Brand advertisers
- High-value ad-supported sites
- Elitist Internet greybeards
- Privacy hackers
- Unaccountable Eurocrats
- Smaller/new platform vendors
Quite a difference. If you're a platform vendor using privacy as a selling point, how do you make the user aware of it? Most platforms try to conceal tracking. But if you're working with the creeped-out feeling instead of trying to soothe it, you need to give the user a little hint of, "Gosh, I'm glad I didn't step in that!" in the same way that a mail application shows you the count of messages in your spam folder. For example, users could get a notification when entering the range of a new wireless shopper tracker, then have the option to hush it up.
The dreaded "Do you want to accept this cookie?" dialog could even be simplified. Instead of presenting the cookie with no context, you could get...
Do you want to accept tracking by example.com? This site appears on the following lists:
Companies that Hate Freedom (Freedom Lovers of America)
Puppy Kickers List (International Puppy Lovers League)
Block this site / Block all sites covered by both of these lists / Accept tracking
The challenge is to add just enough "look how I'm protecting your privacy—aren't I a good little device?" to keep the user uneasy when he or she uses something else.Posted Sat 19 Jul 2014 07:07:47 AM PDT
In the surveillance marketing business, a bunch of companies that started off in different places have all ending up doing the same thing. A company that started as a 1980s dial-up online service is competing with a company that started as a 1990s web portal and both are competing with social networks and post-bro lean 21st-century whatevers. It's like sailors, merchants, and farmers all abandoning their original occupations and all headed out to pan for the same gold.
But is the surveillance marketing gold rush coming to its natural end? Are we entering the consolidation phase, at least on mobile devices? Derek Thompson: A Handful of Tech Companies Own the Vast Majority of Mobile Ads. Google, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter, and Apple have 75%, and a quarter of the pie is left for the rest.
So what happens to the losers?
As soon as you accept that your company is a loser in the surveillance marketing game, you get to stop repeating the same old Big Data jive and come up with something new. As far as I can tell, everyone on the whole Lumascape has the same Unique Selling Proposition. Which is not really the point as uniqueness goes.
Look, it's a basic marketing exercise. Lots of variants, but basically, you try to fill in something like this.
[Product] is the only [category] that [benefit] for [market] by [core competency].
Ready? Here goes.
[example.com] is the only [adtech intermediary] that [maximizes ROI] for [advertisers] by [creepy data collection and difficult math].
The "only" looks funny there, doesn't it? That is exactly as differentiated as:
[Joe Bloggs] is the only [random guy panning for gold] who [finds the most gold] by [panning for gold in this spot right here].
Boring. It's a recipe for consolidation of an industry. So losing could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
What's the alternative? Well, Microsoft
seems to have part of the answer. Violet Blue
Second, using Android phones, I'm Google's lab
rat and fighting back a continual invasiveness from
a company that's really starting to freak me out.
Now we're getting somewhere. Sounds like a point of actual differentiation to me.
What if a vendor used its marketing power to amplify user feelings of unease about surveillance marketing, instead of trying to soothe them? Work with the creeped-out feeling, not against it? Let's do that USP exercise again.
[Microsoft] is the only [productivity platform vendor] that [protects mental and economic integrity] for [users] by [blocking attempts to collect information about you].
That's something to work with, but it's just the start. A message without anything to back it up is as useless as the Scroogled campaign. Pointless. But if you build a security and privacy story keeping the USP in mind, within a couple of releases you've got something.
Clearly nobody in the IT industry is ready to give up getting a piece of the surveillance marketing business yet. But for whoever does first, the opportunity is waiting.
BOB HOFFMAN: The Dumbest People On Earth?
Alex Kantrowitz: Ad-Tech Companies Form Group to Standardize User ID
The Tech Block: The truth about Google and evil
John Gruber: Privacy as a Competitive Advantage for Apple
BOB HOFFMAN: Misintermediation
Ricardo Bilton: Publishers’ plug-in addiction can come back to haunt them
Christof Wittig: Why mobile advertising isn’t as huge as it’s hyped to be (yet)
eaon pritchard: does culture really eat strategy for breakfast?
MediaPost | Metrics Insider: Why Offline Data Is Key To Online Data Segmentation
MediaPost | Mobile Insider: Get This Crap Off My Phone: We Are Screwing Up The Mobile ExperiencePosted Fri 18 Jul 2014 04:21:48 AM PDT
You know what they put on their database marketing companies in Europe?
I've seen 'em do it, man. They ------ drown 'em in that ----.
Massive culture shock alert for this paper by Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius: Consent to Behavioural Targeting in European Law: What Are the Policy Implications of Insights from Behavioural Economics? (PDF) Yes, in Europe, addressing privacy problems with government regulation is actually a thing. I guess that they have a different approach to Internet regulation in general (how's that right to be forgotten thing working?).
It's different here. In the USA, it's impossible to put the words "privacy" and "regulation" in the same sentence with a straight face. You know that some Lester at the Direct Marketing Association is going to make sure that any privacy regulations turn out to be more like anti-privacy regulations. (Remember how CAN-SPAM turned out?)
Here, instead of hoping for benevolent pro-privacy Eurocrats to protect us from surveillance marketing, we have to take a private sector approach to the problem. Fortunately, the privacy interests of end users coincide with the interests of other parties.
For example, legit publishers might choose to address the audience snatching problem by putting some interesting content behind a reverse tracking wall. (Tune in with privacy tech enabled and get an interview or concert; use an out-of-the-box targeting-enabled browser, and get a privacy tutorial instead.) (This may already be the plan at the New York Times—anyone else noticed a lot of first-party ads there? If Disconnect and Privacy Badger adoption went up, the NYT would be in a good position to handle it.)
The other problem is where regulation can be actively harmful. The more complex the adtech stack between advertiser and audience, the more fraud. Some fraud is inherent in highly intermediated adtech. The win for fraud rings is that adtech fraud isn't even illegal. It's against the terms of service of the ad networks, but that's it.
If we get "tough" anti-fraud laws here, it could result in artificially low costs for adtech intermediaries, along with privacy risks for users subject to anti-fraud tracking. The good news here is that the interests of Big Copyright and Surveillance Marketing are in conflict. Making the world safe from adtech fraud makes it safe for "brand-supported piracy."
Users, brand advertisers, and content creators all have an interest in creating a non-targetable medium, one that works more like magazine ads than like spam or direct mail. Adtech intermediaries and fraud rings are the only winners from the targeting-driven race to the bottom. So it should be possible to beat them without relying on the public sector. After all, regulators, even in Europe, are likely to have more and more difficulty promising strong privacy protections, because they'll be negotiated away in secret "trade" talks with the USA.Posted Sat 12 Jul 2014 07:28:00 AM PDT
Here's a survey on online privacy that addresses the question of If users value privacy so much, why won't they pay for it?
Beliefs and Behaviors: Internet Users’ Understanding of Behavioral Advertising (PDF) by Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor. (via Frederik Borgesius)
A majority of users surveyed agree with...
Privacy is a right and it is wrong to be asked to pay to keep companies from invading my privacy
Companies asking me to pay for them not to collect data is extortion
It's an oversimplification to say that if users won't pay for something, they don't want it.
One might expect that participants who highly value privacy would disagree, and would think it is worth paying for privacy even if they also believe they should not have to do so, but only 5% did. Distrust of the advertising industry, or perhaps of actors on the Internet as a whole, is another reason people may not be willing to pay for online privacy with just over a majority agreeing or strongly agreeing that data will be collected even if they pay companies not to collect data.
If one side sees some action as a good in a market, but the other side sees it as just complying with a norm, then no sale. A non-Internet example was telemarketing in the USA. Before the launch of the Do Not Call registry, sales of anti-telemarketer products were low. But at launch, Do Not call got ten million phone numbers in four days.Posted Wed 09 Jul 2014 04:42:08 AM PDT
Older stuff: archive