Recent blog entries for dmarti

QoTD: Giles Bowkett

The Agile Manifesto might also be to blame for the Scrum standup. It states that "the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation." In fairness to the manifesto's authors, it was written in 2001, and at that time git log did not yet exist. However, in light of today's toolset for distributed collaboration, it's another completely implausible assertion, and even back in 2001 you had to kind of pretend you'd never heard of Linux if you really wanted it to make sense.

Giles Bowkett

Syndicated 2014-09-22 04:21:47 from Don Marti

What can brands do now?

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.)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Syndicated 2014-09-20 13:38:42 from Don Marti

A fresh start for advertising and the web?

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 it 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.

Syndicated 2014-09-13 15:03:45 from Don Marti

Thank you for linklogging

Dave Winer writes, Radio3 has a philosophy.

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.)

Bonus links

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

Jeffrey Ball: The Proportion of Young Americans Who Drive Has Plummeted—And No One Knows Why

Adactio: Our Comrade The Electron

Alexis C. Madrigal: A 26-Story History of San Francisco

rands: Drift

Mark Suster: Helping Startups Understand Salespeople & the Sales Culture

Angie Schmitt: Smart Growth America: Sprawl Shaves Years Off Your Life

Brad DeLong: The Social and Moral Philosophy of the Minimum Wage: Monday Focus: April 14, 2014

Ian Morris: The Slaughter Bench of History

Emma Roller: How Congress Stayed Wet in the Dry Years of Prohibition

Charlie Stross: Generation Z

  1. Barton Hinkle: The Dumbest Federal Policy You'll Read About Today

michaelochurch: 3 mean-spirited HR policies that can kill a tech company.

lizapveale: Why tech workers want to live in Oakland: it’s not just cheaper rent

David Kopel: The First Amendment Guide to the Second Amendment

alex: Opposition against TTIP is not an outflow of anti-Americanism

Justin Fox: Piketty’s “Capital,” in a Lot Less Than 696 Pages

Jacob Sullum: John Paul Stevens, Leading Enabler of the War on Drugs, Says Pot Prohibition Was a Big Mistake

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

David Frum: Why Gun-Rights Backers Win While Other Conservative Causes Lose

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

iang: No Accounting Skills? No Moral Reckoning

Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large: Yes, we're in a tech bubble. Here's how I know it

Casey Johnston: Vibram can no longer claim its goofy FiveFinger shoes offer health benefits

Josh Harkinson: Will American Pot Farmers Put the Cartels out of Business?

Nathan: Why we in tech must support Lawrence Lessig

Digg Top Stories: Should Your Job Exist?

Peter Suderman: The Ethanol Disaster

Greg Storey: And They All Look Just the Same

Kashmir Hill: The Terrible Irony In The New York Times Failing To Publish Its Own ‘Innovation Report’

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

John Hood: "Tax Freedom Day" comes earlier for the rich than the poor

Cory Doctorow: What's the story with the Makerbot patent?

Tom Hatfield: Ingress: The game that reveals Google's secret war to control London

Ars Staff: How Amazon got a patent on white-background photography

Syndicated 2014-09-06 22:19:53 from Don Marti

News from the world of surveillance marketing consolidation

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.

Bonus links

ronan: Ad Tech’s Dilemma: Fragmentation vs. Consolidation

Allison Schiff: How Much Cross-Device Clout Do Facebook And Google Actually Have?

ronan: ‘Ad Tech 3.0’ Dystopia or Utopia?

John Koetsier: The next big ad-tech disruption: Not RTB … and maybe not even Google or Facebook

Jérôme Segura: A look at a double-dipping advertising network

John Naughton: We shouldn't expect Facebook to behave ethically

Mark Bergen: Michael Barrett Is Crafting a Plan to Keep Millennial Media in the Mobile-Ad Party

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

eaon pritchard: shot with your own gun (or the META-return of the texas sharpshooter fallacy)

The Daily Stat: Beware the CEO Who Is Showered with Awards

michaelochurch: Greed versus sadism

Louise Roug: The 'Fingerprinting' Tracking Tool That's Virtually Impossible to Block

Hacker News: The Web Never Forgets: Persistent Tracking Mechanisms In The Wild (via The Privacy Blog)

Jeff Jarvis: No silver bullets

eason: Disconnect blocks new tracking device that makes your computer draw a unique image

Rebecca Jeschke: Stop Sneaky Online Tracking with EFF's Privacy Badger

Lauren Johnson: Half of Smartphone Owners Don't Want Their Locations Tracked

datacoup: Settling the scores: Why data brokers will destroy the advertising industry

MediaPost | Online Media Daily: Ad Exchanges Unclothed

BOB HOFFMAN: The Consumer Is In Charge. Of What?

AdNews News: Bob Garfield: Journalists, publishers, agencies and broadcasters are all fucked

brokenrhino: Wladimir Palant's notes: Which is better, Adblock or Adblock Plus? (via ReadWrite)

Fatemeh Khatibloo: The Evolution Of Consumer Attitudes On Privacy

Matt Asay: Why I Switched To Adblock Plus (And You Should, Too)

Curtis Silver: Privacy as a premium: Why it’s time to say goodbye to the free internet

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

Jamie Elden: Marketers: Don't Let Your Brand End Up on Sleazy Websites

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

Darren Herman: A Call for Trust, Transparency and User Control in Advertising

Dan Gillmor: The New Editors of the Internet (via Nieman Lab)

ronan: Are We Meeting The Privacy Challenge?

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 App

Syndicated 2014-09-06 15:56:51 from Don Marti

Don't punch the monkey. Embrace the Badger.

One of the main reactions I get to Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful is: why are you always on about saving advertising? Advertising? Really? Wouldn't it be better to have a world where you don't need advertising?

Even when I do point out how non-targeted ads are good for publishers and advertisers, the obvious question is, 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.

Some advertising has 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.

Some advertising has negative externalities.

On the negative side, the biggest externality is the identity theft risks 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 haszmat.

The French Task Force on Taxation of the Digital Economy suggests a unit charge per user monitored 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 Europe, 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 negative externalities, and towards ads that are tied to content, and have 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.

Syndicated 2014-08-29 13:16:08 from Don Marti

QoTD: Craig Simmons

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.

Craig Simmons

Syndicated 2014-08-26 04:21:47 from Don Marti

Temporary directory for a shell script

Set up a temporary directory to use in a Bash script, and clean it up when the script finishes:

  TMPDIR=$(mktemp -d)
trap "rm -rf $TMPDIR" EXIT

Syndicated 2014-08-22 18:46:57 from Don Marti

Original bug, not original sin

Ethan Zuckerman calls advertising The Internet's Original Sin. But sin 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 fine, and only become a crisis when your immune system is compromised.

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, The web is a much better yellow pages and a much worse television. But that's not inherent in the medium. The Web is able to carry better and more signalful ads as the privacy level goes up. That's a matter of fixing the privacy bugs that allow for tracking, not a sin to expiate.

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 firms calling itself the united voice of the Internet economy is on the other. There's no one original sin here, but there's plenty of opportunity in fixing bugs.

Bonus links

Jeff Jarvis: Absolution? Hell, no

Jason Dorrier: Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry

BOB HOFFMAN: Confusing Gadgetry With Behavior

Syndicated 2014-08-17 12:21:35 from Don Marti

Point of order: social buttons

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 do see the buttons, please get Disconnect or Privacy Badger.

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.

Syndicated 2014-08-03 15:00:28 from Don Marti

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