It’s interesting to watch the tandem work of Google and Doubleclick, even prior to the proposed merger. Doubleclick was just signed-up by the BBC to handle its forthcoming interactive display paid advertising on BBC.com (the Beeb better explain to all its users what will happen with those digital crumpets placed on their computers–I mean cookies, pixels, and other digital spy techniques). Here’s how NMA magazine [sub required] reports it: “BBC Worldwide has appointed DoubleClick to handle display ads on BBC.com, following last week’s green light to allow advertising on the international site... It will also be responsible for the pre-roll advertising on BBC.com through its existing BBC World deal. DoubleClick will work with BBC Worldwide’s internal sales team…The ads will only be served to users outside of the UK…” (Doubleclick already works with the BBC, handling ads for BBC World and the Beeb’s magazine).
Last March, the BBC signed a deal with Google’s YouTube, calling it a “ground-breaking partnership.” Meanwhile, the BBC is drastically cutting staff and reducing news budgets, as it faces reduced public funding. The reduction in funds for the world’s premier public service programmer–and the staff cuts–is a story unto itself–which we will eventually address. But the BBC should not be permitted to endorse a business model for online marketing where its users–even if not UK citizens and residents—are tagged, tracked, targeted, and sold to the highest behavioral targeting bidder. Unless safeguards are imposed, online advertising could have an adverse impact on the diversity and integrity of the news. This deal should also behoove the BBC news staff to launch a major investigation into the Google and Doubleclick merger, inc. how such a merger will impact public affairs programming.
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