Holy grail, or chalice of poison?
What is your name?
The ad tech bubble.
What is your quest?
To seek the holy grail.
What is your favorite color?
I don't know, what does our database say that your
favorite color is? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Python, but it was the
first thing I thought of after reading this: “Ultimately
advertising should mesh with content
and users’ interests. This remains the
Holy Grail…” at the OpenX blog.
Jonathan Miller, of News Corporation's
Digital Media Group (yes, that News
Corporation) reflects the conventional wisdom on
online advertising really well.
"The more real-time and the more data enriched we get
the better the services and the better the experience
will ultimately be for the user."
Really? But what's the long-term result of throwing more
math at advertising? For another perspective, see Advertising
Gets Personal by Samuel Greengard in
Communications of the ACM.
Critics believe the inability to
control what software and tracking mechanisms are
placed on a person's computer is nothing less than
a violation. Many Web sites contain a half-dozen
to a dozen or more tracking tools or third-party
cookies. It is akin to a company installing video
cameras and microphones in a home and recording
everything that occurs in the household. "When
people find out what is really happening, the typical
response is 'Are you kidding!'" says Marcella Wilson,
an adjunct professor of computer science at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
For a long time, ad blocking was a nerdy Internet
sideshow. It was easy and effective, but few
users did it. I wrote an ad blocker myself,
and got one other user—another Linux freak,
who rewrote it.
But new attention to the tracking problem,
especially the Wall Street Journal's
They Know series, might be changing that.
One startup, ClarityRay, is reporting that 9.26
percent of all ad impressions on 100 popular
sites are being blocked.
My best guess is that ad blocking is finally catching
on for two reasons. First, personalized advertising
just sets off people's intuitions about what's creepy.
(We've all read the Charles Duhigg piece
in the New York Times about how Target
tracks who's pregnant and who's not.) Second,
it goes back to the whole signaling thing,
As a reader, as soon as it looks like advertising
is just for you and not a general statement, it gets
less valuable. Why do we leaf through magazine ads,
but discard most direct mail unopened? Targeting
reduces the signal.
In the long run, the real Holy Grail for this business
is software and infrastructure that does a better job
on privacy. That way, nobody's creepiness buttons
get pushed and ads carry a clear signal of the
Syndicated 2012-07-30 14:18:37 from Don Marti