dmarti is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Don Marti
Member since: 2000-04-21 19:59:46
Last Login: 2007-08-14 04:08:08

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When a site tries to violate users' common-sense expectation of privacy, it should be the system administrator's responsibility to protect the user unless the user requests otherwise. Web ad banners are a security hole.

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QoTD: Abraham Lincoln

All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.

Abraham Lincoln

(Our computers, though...)

Syndicated 2014-12-22 02:48:38 from Don Marti

Look who's beating the advertising business at the BS game.

I read Bob Hoffman's blog, and, fine, I have to agree that advertising has a certain amount of bullshit in it. But the sad news is that old-fashioned brand bullshit is losing out to web-scale Big Data bullshit. Seriously, ad people, you're getting beat by a bunch of computer programmers. That's weak. Our idea of bullshitting is stuff like Look at the the ROI to the company if you buy me a faster computer! We're just tech people, no formal training in any of this stuff. We shouldn't be able to out-bullshit anybody. But I guess that as soon as you throw TECHNOLOGY and STATISTICS into the mix, ad people are all, whatever you say!

Bwah ha ha.

How about a simple example of the kind of thing that gets through?

I'll start a used car lot, and hire a statistician. She stands around with a clipboard and watches the people who walk in. 20% of the people kick at least one tire. Out of the tire-kickers, 10% end up buying a car. Out of the rest of the people, only 1% end up buying a car. So, out of every 1000 visitors:

20: kick a tire and buy a car.

180: kick a tire and don't buy a car.

8: don't kick a tire, buy a car anyway.

798: neither kick a tire nor buy a car.

What do I do with this information besides sell 28 cars? Maybe, not much. But let's say I need to hire my nephew. So he comes in to work and starts handing a live rat to everyone who kicks a tire. Now, half of the people who get a rat just run away.

100: kick a tire, get a rat, run away.

10: kick a tire, get a rat, buy a car.

90: kick a tire, get a rat, don't run away but don't buy a car.

8: don't kick a tire, buy a car anyway.

798: neither kick a tire nor buy a car.

Now, are the rats a good idea? If you want to go by common sense, probably not. I'm selling 18 cars instead of 28. But let's say the nephew and the statistician work together to justify the rats. The statistican can do multi-touch attribution on car sales. How does that work?

Simply speaking, channels that appear more often in converting paths than to no-converting paths receive a higher weight, which in turn allows them to claim more conversion credits and thus revenue.

By multi-touch attribution, the rat plan is a huge win. There are 18 converting paths and there's a rat on 10 of them.

So, did I convince you that we should be handing out rats to more customers? Probably not. But use real-world messy data, dress it up with a few more graphs and some more mathematical-sounding language, and make the rats digital? Hell yeah.

Syndicated 2014-12-13 15:29:11 from Don Marti

Thought Leader Insights

Thought Leader Rob Rasko writes: One of the greatest fears publishers face is an impending loss of revenue, based on the spread between what they earn selling their premium inventory and what they earn from programmatic. In some instances, the delta between publisher premium and programmatic can be as great as ten to one; in other words, some publishers’ programmatic ads are earning only ten percent of what their premium counterparts earn. Since programmatic is here to stay...

Too much corporate speak. Let's see if we can find someone who puts it more clearly. This is my neighborhood. You and your friends have to show me a little respect, ah?....You should let me wet my beak a little.

Adtech proponents don't say it like that, though. It's not adtech people wanting to take web publishing's ad revenue away on their own initiative. Programmatic is here to stay and it's all INEVITABLE because of TECHNOLOGY and stuff. How about that Internet, disrupting the economy again? What can you do?

This is, of course, bullshit. The mess that web ads are in, where adtech destroys more value than it captures, is a matter of economic gamesmanship, not technological inevitability. Like all long-running varieties of bullshit, the adtech variety depends on different qualities to get past different people. It beats regular marketing people's filters by having just enough math in it to scare them. It gets past the technology people by appealing to one of the oldest, most deeply held IT biases: if it was hard to write, and technically elegant, it must be good. (Ever notice how so many tech people automatically say better ads instead of more targeted ads even when targeting reduces a medium's value?) Finally, the people with the best chance of detecting adtech bullshit—journalists who cover business and the web—are kept looking the wrong way by their own pride in the editorial/advertising firewall, which is ordinarily a good thing.

So what's the answer? Let's look at the chart.

Print is moving down and to the left. It'll be too small for analysts to bother tracking within a few years. Mobile is moving to the right, and a little up. All the web has to do is let mobile take over the bottom right corner, which it's on its way to doing, and move up and a little left to get out of the way and take print's old niche.

That depends on fixing third-party tracking, though. Maybe, if we can somehow get all the Thought Leaders to focus on native apps while the web quietly fixes its trackability issues, it'll be fixed before anyone knows it. Especially if publishers can give the audience a little nudge.

Bonus links

Leslie Anne Jones: Trapped between Yelp and a hard place

Alana Semuels: Is There Hope for Local News?

Rance Crain: Is Consumer Tracking the New Advertising?

News: Cleaning Up the Ad Clutter

Baekdal Plus: The Four Laws of Privacy - (by @baekdal)

John McDermott: Google’s display advertising dominance raises concerns

Lucia Moses: Inside T Brand Studio, The New York Times’ native ad unit (via Mediagazer)

Judy Shapiro: It's Time to Balance the Tech-Human Element in Marketing

Ruben Bolling: Richard Scarry's Busy Town in the 21st Century (via kottke.org)

Dan Gillmor: When Journalists Must Not Be Objective (via Dan Gillmor)

Samuel Gibbs: Europe’s next privacy war is with websites silently tracking users (via Techrights)

Mark Wilson: TMI Is The Future Of Branding

george tannenbaum: Mike Nichols and Digital Natives.

Tom Philpott: Brazil's Dietary Guidelines Are So Much Better Than the USDA's

rhhackettfortune: How online pharmacy spammer organizations really work (via Krebs on Security)

Jim Edwards: Google's New Ad Strategy Could Delay A Bunch Of Tech IPOs (GOOG) (via VentureBeat)

Ben Goldacre: When data gets creepy: the secrets we don’t realise we’re giving away

Zach Wener-Fligner: Google admits that advertisers wasted their money on more than half of internet ads

Barry Levine: With Big Data, where’s the magic in marketing?

Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories: Unlike humans, monkeys aren't fooled by expensive brands

Syndicated 2014-12-07 05:24:34 from Don Marti

Figure 1

Well, "Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful" has a graph now.

This is what happens when you take the ad spending vs. user time data from each year's edition of Mary Meeker's Internet Trends report.

What is it about print advertising that makes it so much more valuable per user minute than web or mobile advertising?

Why has web advertising stayed in roughly the same spot even as the amount of processing power being thrown at the problem of matching users to ads increases?

Why is mobile, the most targetable medium of all, even crappier than the web?

Syndicated 2014-12-05 04:53:09 from Don Marti

Nifty tech delivers ineffective crap at incredible speed!

Andy Oram: A small technological marvel occurs on almost every visit to a web page. In the seconds that elapse between the user’s click and the display of the page, an ad auction takes place in which hundreds of bidders gather whatever information they can get on the user, determine which ads are likely to be of interest, place bids, and transmit the winning ad to be placed in the page. (How browsers get to know you in milliseconds)

Bob Hoffman: The rate of clicking on banner ads is so tiny, that for a media genius to deliver the 100 clicks she promises a client she has to buy over 100,000 impressions. And so, in trying to achieve goals, an enormous amount of ads must be bought. And splattered all over everything we are trying to do online. Also, because they are so ineffective, they are ridiculously cheap. And they keep getting cheaper. The result is that every creepy company in the world can afford these things and annoy the shit out of us with them. (Display Advertising is Poison)

Hold on a minute. Online display ads are terribly ineffective, despite all the bleeding-edge technology being thrown at them?

Close. But not despite. Because.

Syndicated 2014-12-03 15:13:48 from Don Marti

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