We have revised CDD’s website, and have started a new blog.Â Please go to democraticmedia.org and sign up.
File this under, please send the icon-based scheme back to rewrite! [our emphasis]
Excerpt via clickz.com:Â excerpt:Â The online ad industry’s self-regulatory program could allow some companies to continue tracking consumers even when they’ve opted out through the system…As it exists currently, the self-regulatory program overseen by the alliance allows consumers to opt out from data collection and use for behavioral advertising, explained Stu Ingis, a partner at Venable, a law firm working with the industry coalition. If data is only being collected for behavioral advertising, it will no longer be collected from those who opt out using the program. However, when companies involved with the program also use data for additional purposes such as analytics, they may continue tracking and collecting data from people who have opted out through the program – even though those who have opted-out will no longer receive behaviorally targeted ads.
There’s a “Great Digital Game” going on, where companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and leading ad agencies compete to expand the clout of online marketing around the globe.Â As I told EU and other privacy regulators last Friday, the Obama Administration is being pressed by US online marketers to forge trade deals that will allow the leading companies to conduct business in theÂ Asia-Pacific and EU region without worrying about serious privacy and consumer protection rules.Â I do think it’s ironic–and really misleading–to point to online marketing as a U.S. economic success story that requires special treatment.Â The revenues generated by Google, Facebook and the others are principally from advertising.Â Whether they are truly models of innovation that will bring the kind of sustainable long-term job and economic growth we need is questionable.
At the core of the “Great Digital Game”–where U.S. companies strive to dominate the global interactive ad marketplace–is data collection for user targeting.Â Microsoft, which has a principal online ad research facility in Beijing, was recently seeking a Senior Data Mining Analyst.Â Read this excerpt from the job description and think about privacy, civil liberties in China and other autocratic regimes, consumer protection and the ethical role of U.S. online ad companies:Â “Microsoft Ad Platform China is building world-class engineering teams in Beijing, focusing on online Ads related systems and services such as behavior targeting and advertiser analytics. The team partner closely with the Redmond Ad Platform team, enabling the discovery and inference of user profiles, intent and interaction while respecting privacy and trust, with the ultimate goal of maximizing benefits for users, advertisers and publishers…Core Job Responsibilities: Conduct and manage applied research and modeling work in the areas of user segmentation, profiling, and targeting. Research and experiment on data mining algorithms for user segmentation and dynamic segment expansion. Utilize data mining technologies and use various data sources, some of which may include MSN/Windows Live web usage, search query, demographic, subscription, and 3rd party data, to gain insight into Internet user behavior and intent that will set the foundation for Microsoft targeting offerings and data services. Provide complete solutions to business problems using data mining techniques, statistics and data analysis. Serve as subject matter expert and drive thought leadership in the areas of user profiling, ad targeting, and personalization for Microsoft online services.”
As USPIRG and CDD told the FTC last month, the growing integration of first and third party data for consumer targeting requires a uniform approach to protect privacy.Â Entangling a consumer via a host of outside third-party databases used for stealth profiling and targeting is unacceptable–especially when used for financial and health marketing, or targeting youth.Â Adobe, for example, just announced that it’s “Online Marketing Suite” now incorporates “a wide range of third-party data from providers such as Acxiom (demographics, segmentation and buying behavior), Bizo (business demographics), DataLogix (buying behavior and purchase intent), eXelate (demographics, buying behavior and purchase intent) and TARGUSinfoâ€™s AdAdvisor (demographics, brand preferences, product needs and CRM data).”Â Adobe also is “partnering with DataXu, InviteMedia, MediaMath and Turn to provide customers with the means to act on valuable audience data. Publishers can deliver larger audiences to advertisers by combining their own ad inventory with inventory acquired through the use of DSP partners.”
Both the Congress, the FTC and the European Commission have to address the growing merging of first and third party data that occurs without a users awareness or informed consent.Â Meanwhile, ad agencies such as Omnicom have created their own data tracking and targeting services.Â One executive recently noted that “Thereâ€™s been increasing momentum in the use of third-party data. It’s a critical element of our stack – to use the right third-party audience intelligence data both for targeting and sometimes more importantly for audience insights post impression delivery. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I would say there are a significant percentage of our impressions that are bought with some form of third party data.“
Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave the keynote address at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “Ecosystem 2.0” conference.Â As reported, he explained that [our emphasis]:
“The smartphone is the iconic device of our time,” Schmidt told the record IAB audience of 750 in Palm Springs, California. A year ago, he added, he predicted that mobile use would surpass PCs within two years. “It happened two weeks ago. And the PC is not going to catch up,” Schmidt said, as he labeled the new era, “Mobile First.”…The hyperlocal potential of mobile, Schmidt continued, means that smartphones and tablets bring a practical application to marketing that no other medium can match: A connection that will lead you to the store, open the door, and direct you to a product you need. “A RadioShack ad can tell you where you are and how to get to the nearest store.” And equipped with Near Field Communication chip (NFC), the newest generation of smartphones not only can tell you what to buy, it can enable a tap-and-pay transaction…Think of the offers mechanisms for advertisers,” Schmidt offered. “We’ve spent 20 years trying to get here. And now there’s an explosion in commerce. Particularly for the consumer who says, “I want to buy something and want to buy it right now,” he added, “We can do it.”
And, in large part, that capability means that mobile media consumption “is happening faster than all our internal predictions.”
Some 78% of smartphone internet users already use their smartphones as they shop. And, as consumer comfort with – and acceptance of – new mobile technology continues, Schmidt envisions “a world, in the very near future, where computers remember things and you never need to worry about forgetting anything. You want it to remember something and it will. And you’re never lost. No one is ever lost. You never turn off the [mobile device] and you’ll always know where you are. And where you want to goâ€¦.”
[First in a series based on our FTC filing from 18 Feb.Â Excerpt]:
Consumers should be accorded the same kind of user opt-in control on first-party and third-party sites alike. First-party sites, it is clear, engage in a wide range of data collection and targeting approaches unknown even to their regular visitors, and user consent for these practices should be required. In addition, as first-party publishers increasingly engage in forms of data sales and sharing for the purposes of consumer tracking and targeting, the distinctions between first and third parties are eroding. â€¦Turn, for example, operates a â€œdata-drivenâ€ ad-targeting platform that â€œcrunches 2000+ behavioral, contextual, inventory, and ad selection variables within 25 millisecondsâ€¦ all to determine the right ad, right time, right price, and right audience.â€ Â â€œTurn operates one of the largest marketing platforms on the Internetâ€¦ ranked 6th in US audience reach, just behind companies like Googleâ€¦.â€ Â A recent research paper by TURN discusses how its â€œdata mining solution enables marketers to cost-effectively identify interactions and variables of thousands of data points. It also allows them to look at the entire user profile at the time of impression receipt and do a thorough analysis of the impact of all the variables on a campaign (including latent variables which go beyond the audience segmentation and are often times overlooked).â€ Â Turn explains that its â€œsecret sauceâ€ is a â€œscalable infrastructure [that] enables us to read an individual userâ€™s data profile from among hundreds of millions of profiles within a very small time frame, generally 2 or 3 milliseconds. And, we do this over 100,000 times a second (8+ billion times a day).â€ â€¦
Ball State University has developed a reputation for engaging in interactive media research, often working with marketing companies such as Nielsen.Â Its Center for Media Design just released research on privacy, suggesting in their comments that the debates on privacy have been over-simplied, including by advocates.Â Like many others, Ball State examines privacy and fails to fully explore how online data collection really works in the context of contemporary digital marketing.Â But given Ball State’s close ties with online marketers–including the staff of the Center for Media Design–perhaps it’s not surprising that its review didn’t place the issue under the appropriate critical lens.
For example, Sequent Partners, which works on online marketing and other related issues, is a partner of Ball State.Â Sequent explains that:
Sequent Partners is the majority shareholder in Media Behavior Institute, a consumer-centric and media-neutral multimedia research company formed in 2008 and which enjoys a uniquely close relationship with Ball State University. Media Behavior Institute applied the Universityâ€™s observational research and conducted the Nielsen Council for Research Excellence Video Consumer Mapping study, the most ambitious multi-media measurement ever conducted.
Sequent Partners is also a shareholder and active member of the Media Trust LLC. This team was formed specifically to analyze in-market advertising and media response, and best-of-class sources of single-source data. Media Trust offers the most insightful set of evaluation tools for media and advertising.
Sequent Partners also has a long-term development and product management relationship with OTX Research (Ipsos ASI) in the area of multimedia advertising research.
Working at the Media Behavior Institute is Mike Bloxham, the long-time research director for the Center for Media Design, who just left the university to also work at a digital media start-up.
The privacy debate is an important one, as are many of the issues at stake in the digital communications era.Â The public needs independent research to help address these serious and complex issues.Â Scholars and universities have an important role to play.Â Ball State is not the only school with its hand-out for grants and research contracts. Â But such relationships create conflicts that need to be addressed, including ensuring the research is designed to serve the broader public–not just the special interests supporting the school.
Are they a lobbyist to reach out to the GOP or a mere “customer service” representative who can help guide powerfulÂ politicians through the Facebook social media marketing maze?Â Read this excerpt from Clickz.com and decide for yourself:
Facebook has hired a Republican Party insider to beef up its political outreach team. Former digital strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Katie Harbath…will join the firm’s small Washington, D.C.-based team as associate manager, policy…The company considers the role to be a customer service position, aimed at helping legislators and their staffers, congressional committees and political campaigns make better use of Facebook. Until now, Facebook’s U.S. Politics Page, politics-related media partnerships, and Capitol Hill outreach has been handled primarily by two Facebook public policy execs, Adam Conner Andrew Noyes, the firm’s manager, public policy communications….[and] Twitter also is building out a D.C. staff. In January, Adam Sharp, was set to begin his work as the company’s government and political partnerships manager. He is charged with helping lawmakers, politicians, and government staff take better advantage of the micro-blogging site.
Shiv Singh is the head of digital marketing for Pepsi’s beverage line-up.Â At a recent “Social Media Week” event, he discussed how brands should increase efforts to “listen” to social media conversations.Â Mr. Singh said that:
â€œTwenty-five percent of all time spent online is spent on Facebook.Â We only get to see and listen to a small slice of that. That [larger slice] is the missing link. We sometimes overstate the benefits of listening and we don’t acknowledge the fact that we’re not listening to everything as a whole. Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook are brilliant, but if there’s one thing that keeps him awake at night it’s that the default state for profiles is not public.â€
No doubt, if privacy advocates and responsible policymakers–and concerned Facebook users–hadn’t objected, the profiles would be public by default.Â Given that Facebook’s ad revenues are connected to having such a goldmine of data free to its partners, having profiles be public by default would give us privacy nightmares.
Excerpts from AOL’s Advertising.com “Adlearn” system and its experts:
* The sheer size and scale of AOL makes us a powerful data warehouse. We have massive amounts of data and raw ad serving logs coming from the AOL Advertising organization (including Advertising.com, ADTECH, behavioral and contextual logs, etc.). Our systems are processing five billion transactions (clicks, conversions, etc.) per second.
*access to inventory, data and analytics is going to become fairly liquid in the marketplace. This will lead to automation advancements in platforms and media planning tools that advertisers leverage to place campaigns…Automation will also impact the publishing side of the equation. Content will be created based on demand by users, and advertisers will align themselves with that content as it is created…Every impression in the future will be data-driven â€“ we wonâ€™t serve run-of-network campaigns any longer. You will know something about the user before you serve an ad and every creative will be dynamically-generated.
and “eAddressable household level targeting”
- Survey-based Targeting (MRI/Household Propensity): Target users within households that demonstrate the highest propensity to use certain products or services as indicated by MRI consumer survey panel data matched to Mosaic Household Lifestyle Clusters.
- Purchase-based Targeting (IRI/Household Propensity): Target users within households that demonstrate the highest propensity to buy certain products as indicated by IRI consumer purchase panel data matched to Mosaic Household Lifestyle Clusters.
- Offline Consumer Model Targeting (Experian eAddressable Audiences): Target users within households using Experianâ€™s statistical modeling based on hundreds of offline data elements that are most predictive for defining the specific audience of consumers.
- Custom Database Match: Target users within households that are both the advertiserâ€™s best prospects and AOL media consumers with offline database matching.
- Mosaic Household Lifestyle Cluster: Target users within households that are categorized by Experianâ€™s 60 Mosaic lifestyle consumer segments.