Steve Rappaport, co-author of The Online Advertising Playbook: Proven Strategies and Tested Tactics from the Advertising Research Foundation, wrote the following comment to Randall Rothenberg’s Huffington Post piece. In our view, Mr. Rappaport’s analysis and measured tone is exactly how online ad industry leaders should respond to the growing debate on privacy and consumer protection. Mr. Rappaport wrote that:
“I work in the advertising industry, have written a book on online advertising (The Online Advertising Playbook), am acquainted with Randy and Prof. Turow (I like them both), and am expressing my personal views. They are not those of my employer or anyone else. Please, hold them harmless.
Regarding issues of targeting, privacy and security online, it’s the duty of academics and public interest organizations to question, and to question practices. In my book’s section on behavioral targeting I brought up Prof. Turow’s argument concluding that it was important and that the industry should consider it, not to reject behavioral targeting, but to think about it in a more nuanced way so that marketers can benefit their brands and consumers. While writing, drafts of chapters were sent to highly regarded industry folks. Not one questioned the inclusion of that passage.
While Turow is portrayed as an enemy of advertising, the truth is that we have bold people in the advertising industry itself who raise similar questions – see Matt Creamer’s article in the special digital issue of Ad Age from March (“Think different: the web’s not a place to stick your ads”). And none other than Tim Berners-Lee, the putative father of the web, is raising concerns about online tracking. The internet is all about throwing light on topics and having lively discussions that work towards a resolution, which was nearly impossible just 10 or 15 years ago. We’re better for it. We should encourage it, not quash it.”