Recent blog entries for dmarti

Broadcasters, fighting, and data leakage

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.

Syndicated 2015-06-29 14:07:54 from Don Marti

NIMBY + ISDS = Profit?

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?)

Syndicated 2015-06-25 02:25:36 from Don Marti

One dad's FREE weight loss tip will blow your mind!

"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.

40 kcal of rogue IT

Can Mondelez, Facebook Sell More Cookies Online?

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 wrote, 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.

So if you're reading this blog for the weight loss tip, here it is. Take the tracking protection test and get protected. Bonus tip: How can I break the Facebook habit?

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.)

Photo: Balfabio for Wikimedia Commons

Syndicated 2015-06-24 02:50:55 from Don Marti

5 five-minute steps up

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.

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.

Syndicated 2015-06-17 00:46:30 from Don Marti

Team Targeting, Team Signal

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?

Syndicated 2015-06-06 15:48:16 from Don Marti

News sites and the tracking game

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.

Helping users get started with tracking protection is one or two lines of JavaScript. Easier than adding a social button. Cut, paste, save Journalism, and still have time for that artisan cheeseburger.

Syndicated 2015-06-02 04:36:26 from Don Marti

Hey, kids, let's play Adtech or Malware!

It's time to play "Adtech or Malware?"

For each of the following Fair Use news excerpts, can you figure out if it's from a story on recently discovered malware, or from a story on a new advertising technology? Answers at the end.

1

If "a person with a smartphone takes the metro, a/an (Adtech or malware?) application" uses accelerometer readings to trace the person, to infer where the (victim/consumer) gets on and off the train. They said that "metro trains run on tracks, making their motion patterns distinguishable from cars or buses running on ordinary roads."

2

It detects your actual address and uses it to scrape and gather all the data associated with where you live. The application is so powerful, say (adtech developers or malware researchers?) that it can know when you’re at home or away.

3

Once users enable the macro content, it creates a VBScript, a batch file and other files around the version of Windows victims are running, (security researcher or adtech analyst?) said. The files then download the (ad or malware?) payload and a “statistics image” from a public picture-hosting service. The (malware writer or ad agency?) can then see how many times the image was downloaded.

4

This looks like a real site (except for those weird empty scrollbar windows; not sure what's up with those...). It has very professional text content, not the normal randomly-scraped junk that often populates sites being used for Search Engine Poisoning attacks -- and that's because this network isn't doing SEP.

Scroll down for answers...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers

1: malware

2: adtech

3: malware

4: heck if I know.

How did you do?

3-4 right: I salute your mad skillz. You are truly among the 31337. Just don't hack my site....please?

1-2 right: You're on the right track. Better take a quick tracking protection test just to help protect yourself from this stuff.

0 right: Shouldn't you be working on your Medium piece about how Big Data is transforming Marketing?

Syndicated 2015-05-27 01:57:36 from Don Marti

Bonus links and a point of order

Interested in the Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful material, and looking for next steps for making web ads work better for sites and brands? Sure you are.

New blog in progress: blog.aloodo.org. This is about small changes that site and brands can do to get better web ads. A few simple rules...

  • No calls for collective action. That's what the adtech people are trying to do on fraud, and it's not working.

  • No long-term projects. The "backlog" never gets done. Web sites have to work at the speed of git push, not the speed of cheese tweets. Every to-do item on blog.aloodo.com will be as simple as adding a social button widget to a page template, or simpler.

  • No appeals to privacy. Privacy is an important philosophical concept, which reasonable people disagree on, and which we do not have time for. We can fix obvious bugs without discovering the meaning of a complicated word.

  • No assumptions that users are changing. We ignore surveillance marketing people when they say that Consumers want to connect and share with their beloved brands, and we need to ignore Users are becoming concerned about PII and autonomy just as much.

  • Work with norms and laws, don't change them. The niche for brogrammers doing creepy and/or illegal stuff in order to do a business is filled. More than filled.

Anyway, feed. Blog.

Bonus links

Timothy B Lee: How to be better at PR

Mark Duffy: Copyranter: Digital is destroying all creativity

BOB HOFFMAN: Agencies Cheating Clients, Says Former Mediacom CEO. No Shit, Says Me.

Tales of a Developer Advocate: Detecting injected content from third-parties on your site

Francis: The advert wars

Darren Herman: Mozilla’s mission in the context of digital advertising

jm: Epsilon Interactive breach the Fukushima of the Email Industry (CAUCE)

Warc: Brands still look to print

Kurt Wagner: Snapchat’s Discover Publishers Are Asking for Big Ad Rates — And They’re Getting Them

Sell! Sell!: Building Real Brands: The Difference Between Building A House, And Painting A Picture Of A House.

Monica Chew: How do I turn on Tracking Protection? Let me count the ways.

Evan Soltas: The Rent Hypothesis

Sell! Sell!: Advertising Is Losing Maverick Thinking - What's The Solution?

Alexandra Bruell: Media-Agency Kickbacks. Yes, They're Real. (via The Ad Contrarian)

Jeff Kagan: Google Glass Should Stay Gone

Samuel Gibbs: Facebook 'tracks all visitors, breaching EU law'

djbriane: Meerkat Vs Periscope: Tech journalist is a sickly mess | BGR

Bruce Schneier: Survey of Americans' Privacy Habits Post-Snowden

Monica Chew: Two Short Stories about Tracking Protection

Joseph Lichterman: The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising

Mike Proulx: There Is No More Social Media -- Just Advertising

Maciej Zawadziński, ClearCode: How the U.N.’s new privacy move will shake up the adtech industry

BOB HOFFMAN: How Do You Untrain A Generation?

Todd Garland: Context is Everything: How to Counter AdBlock

Jason Kint: Debunked: Five Excuses for Dismissing Do Not Track

Adotas: Proximity Networking: Can You Buy Me Now?

Adotas: Celtra offers “Programmatic Creative” for brands and agencies to better target customers

Alex Kantrowitz: Brands Are Swiftly Taking Automated Digital Ad Buying Operations In-House

Digg Top Stories: How Click Farms Have Inflated Social Media Currency

Mona Patel: When Big Data Becomes More Valuable Than Your Products/Services

Ed: Whys and Hows of Suggested Tiles

JWZ: Wherein I ridicule Facebook some more, then collaborate with the Panopticon

Media Briefing TheMediaBriefing Analysis: Who are the fraudsters costing the ad industry billions? (via blog.aloodo.org)

Jordan Weissmann: One of Today's Pulitzer Prize Winners Left Journalism Because It Couldn't Pay His Rent. Now He's in PR. (via Digiday)

Freddie: the supervillain’s guide to saving the internet

Garett Sloane: Here's How Europe Is Stifling the Ad Business for Google, Facebook and Others (via Technology & Marketing Law Blog) (via Technology & Marketing Law Blog)

Gregory Raifman: How the Advertising Industry Can Get Rid of 'Bad Ads'

MediaPost | MediaDailyNews: Google Names Ad Networks Responsible For Ad Injectors

Google Security PR: New Research: The Ad Injection Economy

Don Marti: Why adtech fraud would make the worst heist movie ever (had to put one from the new blog in here, right?)

Syndicated 2015-05-10 15:07:31 from Don Marti

Why ad blockers don't have to do content marketing

From the Condé Nast "User Agreement & Privacy Policy" page:

The use of Tracking Technologies by third parties is subject to their own privacy policies, not this Privacy Policy, and we have no responsibility or liability in connection therewith. If you do not want the services that Tracking Technologies provide, you may be able to opt-out by visiting http://www.aboutads.info.

Sounds like checking into a hotel and getting this...

Feeding by third-party insects in guest rooms is subject to their own policies, and we have no responsibility or liability in connection therewith. If you wish to opt out of feeding by third party insects, here is the card of a really lousy exterminator we know, who only gets some of them but that's your problem.

Ad blockers don't have to do content marketing, because publishers are doing it for them.

But there's a way for publishers to opt out of the whole tracking vs. blocking race to the bottom, and neither surveillance marketers nor conventional ad blockers have it. More: Ad blocking, bullshit and a point of order

Syndicated 2015-04-19 13:49:00 from Don Marti

The end of Please Turn Off Your Ad Blocker

More news from the ongoing malvertising outbreak.

These aren't skeevy ads on low-reputation pirate sites. These attacks are coming in on big-budget sites such as AOL's Huffington Post, and included in fake ads for real brands such as Hugo Boss. They're using A-list adtech companies. Read the articles. Nasty stuff. The ongoing web ad fraud problem is hitting users now, not just advertisers.

So far the response from the ad networks has been a few whacks at the problem accounts. So I can make the safest kind of prediction: someone made money doing something not very risky, not much has changed, so they'll do it again and others will copy them. Want to bet against me?

Users already trust web ads less than any other ad medium. Malvertising takes a form of advertising that's a bad deal for the user and makes it worse. (If sewer rats are coming out of the commode, users are going to put a brick on the lid. If the rats have rabies, make that two bricks.)

The more malvertising that comes along, the more that the "please turn off your ad blocker" message on web sites is going to look not just silly, but irresponsible or just plain scary. "Turn off your ad blocker" sounds like the web version of "If you can't open lottery-winner-wire-transfer.zip, turn off your antivirus."

Time to rewrite the "turn off your ad blocker" messages and talk about a sensible alternative. Instead of running a general ad blocker (and encouraging the "acceptable ads" racket) or running entirely unprotected, the hard part is just starting: how to educate users about third-party content protection that works for everyone: users, sites, and responsible advertisers.

Bonus links

Sherwin Siy: IP Rights Aren’t a License to Kill Devices (And No, Fine Print Doesn’t Make It OK)

Planet Debian: Joey Hess: a programmable alarm clock using systemd

Calvin Spealman: The Curl Pipe

@feedly: Why we retired the feedly URL shortener

James Gingell: Where Did Soul-Sucking Office-Speak Come From?

Glyn Moody: China Turns From 'Pirate' Nation To Giant Patent Troll

Joe Wein: Disclaimers by spammers

SMBlog -- Steve Bellovin's Blog: If it Doesn't Exist, it Can't be Abused

phobos: Partnering with Mozilla

Eryn Paul: Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture

The Tech Block: The tech worker shortage doesn’t really exist

Heidi Moore: The readers we can’t friend

Lary Wallace: Why Stoicism is one of the best mind-hacks ever devised

Steven Sinofsky: Why Remote Engineering Is So Difficult!?#@%

SysAdmin1138: Application firewalls for your phone

Syndicated 2015-04-18 14:57:06 from Don Marti

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