Google’s mobile vision–Promoting location-based fast food marketing

excerpt: “The idea of location-based advertising, in which advertisers use the location of mobile phone user to send targeted advertising, also won support from Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

He used the example of how an advertiser of fast-food could target a user with advertising when he or she was near a restaurant.”

from: China’s mobile network: a big brother surveillance tool? AFP. January 27, 2008

Behavioral Advertising: Targeting “Users Further Down the Purchasing Funnel”

When you can get the online ad industry to write your copy, it makes the work at the FTC and the European Commission so much easier! Here’s an excerpt from a revealing imediaconnection article entitled “Targeting Tips for a Converged Media World.” [Jan. 30, 2008]
In days past, audience segmentation was based solely on demographic and contextual targeting information, which allowed advertisers to promote their products or services to a group of potential consumers based on their gender, age and other fairly unsophisticated, generic characteristics. In the online world, consumers now essentially determine their own segmentation based on individualized habits, determined through behavioral targeting…. Behavioral targeting…is also an additional way for marketers to target users further down the purchasing funnel and helps marketers better predict how users will act… Marketers will be able to track individuals or user clusters across their favorite TV shows, travel habits through their car’s GPS or obtain their video game proficiency through in-game advertising… As users age and change their personal preferences, behavioral targeting can change with users’ habits and compensate accordingly…With marketers able to include interactive components into traditional media outlets while infusing behavioral knowledge and targeting, advertisers must create messages that can be delivered across all platforms. For example, we could see mobile ads that use interactive elements if marketers know the behavioral cluster exhibits a preference for interactive media.”

Google’s Privacy PR: Here’s What They Sent to Reporters. But real safeguards are required, especially in the GoogleClick era

Yesterday a reporter sent me the following email sent from the Google PR shop. Instead of calling for responsible policy safeguards to protect consumers, Google is distributing booklets, videos and other self-help materials (in other words, let the user beware). It’s not surprising that Google is on a PR effort to quell the growing calls for real privacy protection. But they are not living up to their own ideals if they fail to really be more candid about the conflicts they have with a business model entirely based on data collection and targeted marketing.

Here’s the email:

“From: “Adam Kovacevich”
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 12:23:11 PM (GMT-0500) Auto-Detected
Subject: Happy Data Privacy Day

Okay, okay, so you can be forgiven if you didn’t realize today was Data Privacy Day here in dear old North America. At Google we’ve been doing a lot lately to educate our users about our privacy policies (particularly the launch of our Google Privacy YouTube channel ), but we figured today was a good day to unleash a few more education efforts. To wit:

• A brand spankin’ new video on the YouTube channel explaining how cookies work:
• A new booklet ( ) that gives our users an in-depth look at our privacy practices and approach. This should be a particular good resource for you journos too.
• We’ve co-sponsored the creation of educational materials ( ) on teen online privacy for parents and educators.
• Our senior privacy counsel Jane Horvath is today joining legal scholars, privacy professionals, and government officials from Europe and the U.S. at an international data privacy conference being held at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

For more on all of this, check out our blog post:

or background from the Search Engine Land blog:


Adam Kovacevich | Sr. Manager, Global Communications and Public Affairs | Google
1101 New York Ave NW | Second Floor | Washington, DC 20005 “

As a brief companion piece to Ken Auletta’s article on Google in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine (The Search Party), this may be of interest. Google’s goal is ultimately to be of service to advertisers and marketers; that’s how it makes 99% of its revenue. There’s a disturbing lack of candor from Google about the conflicts they have. One the one hand, they are (getting PR for) promoting responsible practices such as energy sustainability. But on the other hand, they are using all the company’s incredible resources to push the interactive marketing and selling envelope, including the sales of automobiles. Here’s excerpts from Google advertising sales job openings related to the car and truck industry:

1. The role: Industry Head, Automotive – London

As a Google Automotive Industry Head, you’ll be working with those who produce, market or sell products or services related to cars, trucks, boats or other transportation vehicles. This includes original equipment manufactures, third-party websites, dealers and after-market parts and accessories companies. This is a highly consultative position that reports directly to the Automotive Industry Leader. You’ll be responsible for presenting the team’s strategy and managing a team of experts to increase sales on a national level. Focusing on building strong relationships at the highest possible level, your goal is to help your automotive clients get as many of their marketable assets online in an affordable and measurable way. You’ll combine exceptional Automotive knowledge, deep industry and marketing agency relationships, compelling communication/presentation skills and inspired prospecting/analytical abilities to develop and close new business as well as grow existing business.


  • Develop the vision and manage the sales/account strategies that will fully unlock the potential in the Automotive sector.
  • Build and maintain relationships with senior-level clients, industry-specific direct advertisers and relevant agency contacts.
  • Educate the Automotive industry and evangelise Google, particularly at targeted events, conferences and media opportunities.
  • Understand the roles of and manage a team consisting of Industry Managers, Account Managers, Account Strategists and Sales Planners – providing team development, guidance, feedback and motivation.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the business needs of Automotive advertisers and insights into consumer behaviour.


  • High-calibre BA/BSc degree (MBA preferred).
  • Proven record of strategic development of major Automotive manufacturers.
  • Substantial experience in advertising sales/marketing and sales management.
  • Established relationships and presence within the Automotive industry.
  • Broad knowledge of sales and management, and proven team management experience.
  • Ability to influence product development through interaction with relevant colleagues, peers and direct reports.
  • A deep understanding of the industry’s issues, a vision for its growth, and a commitment to advance Google’s forward-looking strategies within the marketplace..
  • 2. The role: Account Strategist, Automotive Vertical (Detroit)

    As a Google Automotive Account Strategist, you’ll work primarily with large automotive clients and agencies. Most of these companies operate multiple sales channels, work with several manufacturing partners and always look to increase sales volume and efficiency. This is a creative position that calls for a strong affinity for the craft of language and a fondness for consulting closely with the auto clients. You’ll distill the essence of our clients’ products and services into targeted keyword lists and text advertisements that connect our advertisers with customers. You will also collaborate with our Sales and Operations team to work closely with clients to maximize the performance of these highly targeted ads.

    3. [based in Santa Monica, CA]  The role: Account Strategist, Automotive Vertical.   As a Google Automotive Account Strategist, you’ll work primarily with large automotive clients and agencies. Most of these companies operate multiple sales channels, work with several manufacturing partners and always look to increase sales volume and efficiency. This is a creative position that calls for a strong affinity for the craft of language and a fondness for consulting closely with the auto clients. You’ll distill the essence of our clients’ products and services into targeted keyword lists and text advertisements that connect our advertisers with customers. You will also collaborate with our Sales and Operations team to work closely with clients to maximize the performance of these highly targeted ads…

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The Interactive Ad Bureau: Its Political Posture is a Liability for the Advertising Industry

On December 14, the head of the U.S. Interactive Advertising Bureau–Randall Rothenberg–wrote a commentary for the Wall Street Journal (“Facebook’s Flop” sub. required) that will be used by graduate students someday as an example of what shouldn’t be done to help an industry address a political crisis. Using old cliches, scare tactics, name-calling, the piece reflects a real failure on the part of the IAB to address an important policy issue that affects everyone–including families. It also shows an inability to recognize concerns about online privacy in an historic context. Such an approach may be useful for rallying some of the old guard. But more sophisticated advertisers and marketers will recognize that the online ad industry doesn’t benefit from embracing such an approach.

So instead of saying that there has long been a concern about online privacy, including for children, we are called “anti-business groups.” Instead of admitting that advertisers and marketers are shaping the new media system so it can better track and target us all, the IAB head claims “the consumer is in control.” Instead of admitting that it was the request made by my group and others for the FTC and the European Commission to investigate Facebook’s “Beacon” system, it says that it just took Moveon to force a (partial) retreat (anyone who has political savvy recognizes it was the combination of Moveon’s organizing, the raising of public policy concerns, and advertiser skittishness that led to the Facebook change). The commentary claims we are calling for “the banning of behaviorally-targeted ads.” But almost everyone else recognizes that we have called for meaningful privacy safeguards for behavioral and interactive marketing practices that would protect consumers.

Finally, the oldest canard in the business is used, claiming that without advertising all the “free” content online would disappear. “Advertisers are paying for it,” it is said. Nothing about how consumers ultimately pay for all this–including now their loss of data, privacy and autonomy.

Anyone with insight into where we are historically with interactive media and marketing should recognize that the privacy and marketing related issues must be honestly dealt with. Old style lobbying may show some muscle, but will backfire. Here’s hoping 2008 will bring the gift of better reflection at the IAB–to its officers, board members, and members.

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The Future of Behavioral Targeting Regulation–First in a [very long] series

Now that the EU’s Article 29 Working Group has announced plans to investigate behavioral targeting as part of its 2008 workplan, advocates and regulators from both sides of the Atlantic can build the case for meaningful safeguards. The goal should be maximum privacy protection. It’s interesting to see the response coming from European-based behavioral targeting firms, such as In an article for the UK-based imediaconnection trade report,’s co-founder removes the use of IP addresses from the targeters arsenal, writing that “… even IP addresses has no place in targeting.” That will come to a surprise to many in the online marketing industry! is engaged in a range of targeting efforts that require the scrutiny of data regulators. But just in case you thought their rejection of IP address targeting made them a worthy of a privacy prize, you would be mistaken. In the same article, the executive describes the new generation of data that can be mined by marketers [our emphasis]: “Web 2.0 offers a better option — user-generated content, be it through word, sound or image, which is fitted with ‘tags’. These community recommendations lift contact management to a new level. By using targeting technology that can be applied flexibly, you can develop completely novel approaches and exploit untapped potential.”

The Article 29 group will surely be working.

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IAB creates new post: "SVP, Thought Leadership and Marketing."

As the IAB ramps up its political operation to defend the interactive marketing industry from consumer-friendly privacy safeguards, it has created a new senior position. The SVP for Thought Leadership and Marketing is… “to help drive the growth of interactive advertising through enhanced communications with marketers, agencies, and others about the power of interactive media to reach and influence consumers.” In another words, a seasoned PR hand. David Doty is now in that position; he came from Booz Allen Hamilton where he was Director of Corporate Branding and Creative Services.”

But what IAB requires is “thought leadership” that recognizes that interactive marketing can’t run a-muck. Consumer protections are required, as well as a socially responsible approach to digital advertising in a global environment.

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We hope that users of Facebook (as well as MySpace) express opposition to the new aggressive data collection and targeted marketing system. Facebook is supposed to be an community where you can express who you are, and friends freely communicate. But it’s being transformed into a zone where advertisers with the biggest budgets can harvest your data, take advantage of your network of friends, and deliver targeted marketing and branding commercials. Facebook’s new approach combines behavioral targeting with viral marketing. That system threatens everyone’s privacy. Facebook is thumbing its nose at its users as well. This forced data collection and `target to your profile and friend’s’ scheme is, claims Facebook’s “chief privacy officer” Chris Kelly, actually good for you. “We saw a real opportunity here to democratize advertising,” he said [via Online Media Daily. Sign-up required]. “People will not be able to opt out of these social ads or turn them off, at least for now, unless they stop revealing information about themselves on Facebook.” That’s according to Techcrunch, which blogged live from Facebook’s advertising event.

Is this a democratic form of expression, or a Kremlin like digital gulag?

Facebook’s users are viewed as merely grist for a big data mining mill designed to sell targeted ads. Here’s how Zuckerberg described the new approach to advertisers (also from the same Techcrunch story): “Let’s talk about targeting. With Facebook you will be able to select exactly the audience you want to reach, and we will only show your ads to them. We know exactly what gender someone is, what activities they are interested in. their location, country, city or town, interests, gender,” work history, political views…Advertisers can build their own Facebook pages and design them any way they like: “We have photos, videos, discussion boards, any Flash content you want to bring to your page, plus any application a third party developer has made.”

Zdnet reported that Facebook Ads will enable “businesses to connect with users and target advertising to the exact audiences they want…Facebook will provide metrics to its marketers that include activity, fan demographics and ad performance so businesses can adjust targeting and content.”

This is a real violation of trust. No one is saying Facebook can’t make money. But it needs to be be done in a way that respects the privacy and values of its members. The time to express displeasure is now.

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Doubleclick at the Brand Summit: Glimpse of Ad-enmeshed editorial future

There was an interesting exchange at a recent imedia Brand Summit event, which you can witness on this video at approximately 7:12 minutes. Chris Young, Doubleclick’s EVP for “Rich Media & Emerging Division” (I kid you not. That’s his job title) asked a question of speaker Sean Finnegan. Finnegan is the CEO of OMG Digital, a new Omnicom global division advancing interactive marketing. Finnegan was touting a viral campaign to drive (literally) young folks from bars directly into `were open all night’ McDonalds. Doubleclick’s Young reflected on the work his company and other major online marketers are doing to create an “embedded relationship, friendship, with the consumer.” He cited the trend among Doubleclick’s clients to develop “long-form webisodic content, creating a series.”

Finnegan’s reply was very telling–and should serve as another wake-up call for all those who care about the further merging of editorial content and advertising. He explained that agencies are “merging the digital groups with the entertainment marketing groups,” expanding what they had been previously doing with such approaches as “plot integration.” Interactive advertising, marketing, big brands, and editorial content all intertwined is the basic business model for much of the new media world. That’s why we should address now–before it’s too late–what the rules, safeguards and alternatives should be.

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