Watering the data lawn
News from California: Big month for
conservation: Californians cut water use by 31% in
Governor Brown said to cut back by 25%, and people
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
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
stronger. (Good explanation of
signaling and advertising from Eaon
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
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
in 2010, and today, more than five years later,
battery-sucking Flash ads are still a
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
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
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
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.
Syndicated 2015-08-29 14:28:16 from Don Marti