excerpt from new DoubleClick job posting: “The newly formed Emerging Media Team is currently searching for a seasoned Program Manager to help introduce and expand the team’s offerings in Social Media and Services. The Program Manager (PM) is responsible for ensuring successful execution of select Advertisers’ social media ad buys and social media presence (i.e. page creation and management, buzz creation and monitoring, application development and distribution, etc.). The PM is charged with building strong relationships and establishing clear lines of communication with their advertisers, specialist partners, and internal resources including members of account management, search and affiliate program management, sales, and the publisher development teams. The PM is resourceful in leveraging their social network and buzz marketing knowledge, technical skills, client service experience, analytical and problem-solving capabilities, and organizational skills to ensure flawless program execution that drives insights and helps define future client/publisher opportunities and social media and services offerings.”

from “Program Manager, Social Media and Services, DoubleClick Performics

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Google, Microsoft, others: Tracking our every interaction to determine the click that delivers for advertisers

excerpt: “DoubleClick and Atlas have both been working on a process commonly known as multiple attribution protocol (MAP). As storage is cheap, we can now keep in the data cube all digital interactions of a consumer with a campaign. Every view, every click, every visit to a site, whether click-through or view-through… MAP reporting and algorithms will permit us to take into account the underlying banner and other campaigns that happen prior to the final action. With this methodology, we’ll be able to consider other actions besides the last click for partial attribution. DoubleClick has a reporting process in release now and Atlas is said to be releasing reporting and algorithms into beta in Q1 of this year.”

from: “The New Metrics Landscape.” David L. Smith. imediaconnection. January 29, 2008

AOL’s Privacy “Penguins”–Time Warner Skating on [Very] Thin Consumer Protection Ice

The senior management over at Time Warner must be `in treatment’ with some of their Looney Toon characters. How else to explain the ludicrous use of cartoon penguins that will soon be deployed to really misinform consumers about how and why their data and personal information are being collected and harvested for microtargeting purposes. It’s really shameful that the Time Warner, its Platform A targeting service, and the AOL division are hiding behind these well-liked creatures. But they are doing so because the company doesn’t want to be honest with its users. What Time Warner should be telling consumers are some of the things it pitches to perspective and current advertisers. For example, it should tell consumers that they are being tracked and followed online so advertisers will know they are “demonstrating a specific behavior.” Or that it’s “an advertisers dream–the ability to target consumers…across thousands of websites…[while they] research their options…Through behavioral targeting–and retargeting–we keep your brand top of mind during this crucial consideration phase.” Or that when we are watching online video, Time Warner informs advertisers that it can tell them “[H]ow long did consumers view your ad? Did they visit your website as a result? Better yet, did they visit your store? Online video takes the best of TV and the best of online to create the ultimate solution–high-impact advertising with measurable results.”

Or that it can help them get “leads” for future pitches (think mortgage loans, etc). Will AOL’s Penguin say that it will give marketers “a high-volume” of leads that will “convert into an actual customer…that perform best for your goals.” Or that it can identify our behaviors and then place us for sale as part of consumers profiles to be targeted (such as whether they consider us to be a “Traveler, Health Seeker, Entertainment Buff, Auto Intender or Trendy Homemaker”), which include information about whether we have children at home, how much money we make, or our gender? I hope our Penguin will be telling consumers (and the FTC and the EU’s Article 29 Working Group) that its “insight Reports” provide marketers with “deep knowledge” [our emphasis] “[B]y combining TACODA behavioral segments with comScore’s MediaMetrix® database of online consumer demographics, Web site visitation patterns, and eCommerce buying power index, TACDOA is able to discover previously unknown key behavioral traits that may be non-intuitive and even counterintuitive behaviors. Our pre and post campaign analyses will help you identify your strategically important audiences in a snap.”

When asked to testify before Congress, as it debates privacy safeguards, we hope Time Warner’s Penguin will be able to explain its “Audience Point” service, which promises advertisers that they will be able to “[R]each the right audience….without waste…the first precision targeting solution giving audiences direct interaction with their likely customers.” Or that Time Warner, via Leadback.com, promises to “helps you reach your site visitors after they exit your site – reinforcing your brand positioning and driving users back to your site to complete a desired action. LeadBack.com – converting browsers into buyers, and buyers into repeat buyers.”

Time Warner and the online ad industry have to be honest with consumers and citizens. They shouldn’t engage in playing games when it comes to protecting privacy. Here’s the real penguin Time Warner and AOL should be using:

The Penguin, as seen in Detective Comics

Google now has `teams

Via Dow Jones: “[Tim] Armstrong [Google’s North American president for advertising and commerce]…said Google has established engineering and sales teams dedicated to figuring out how to make money from advertisements on social networking sites…he said it became clear that user behavior on social networks was different than on traditional sites and the company has now carved out teams dedicated to monetizing those sites. “We now have a very clear path and direction for it,” he said.

Source: Google: To Be `Very Significant’ in Display Ads By ’08-’09. Scott Morrison. Dow Jones. March 120, 2008

Google’s target as it absords DoubleClick: “big world of brand and display dollars”

One phase of the regulatory review is over, but the effort to protect privacy online continues. The work of EU and U.S. privacy and consumer groups during the merger encouraged officials on both sides of the Atlantic to more closely examine online data collection practices of Google and others. We believe that EC privacy commissioners will continue to press for more effective safeguards. We were told that the EC competition authorities met resistance to their merger analysis from other officials concerned about privacy and media diversity. In today’s digital media era, the diversity of content creation, protecting privacy, and the competitiveness of the online ad business are intertwined.

We intend to keep our Google watch (along with our focus on the online ad industry). Today’s Advertising Age article on the Google/DoubleClick merger gives a sense of where the search leader is headed [excerpt. our emphasis. subscription required]: Google executives were meeting with reporters in their New York office this morning when the official news came through. “There’s a big world of brand and display dollars we haven’t been as aggressive in or played in,” Penry Price, VP-North America sales for Google, said at the meeting… “We want to build on top of that platform [DoubleClick’s] and create next-generation tools to work with marketers and agencies to have an end-to-end solution from planning to reconciliation”….”I think would we be disappointed in 2008 and 2009 if we don’t have a very significant presence in the display marketplace,” Google President-Advertising Tim Armstrong said yesterday at the Bear Stearns Media Conference.

PS: Here’s what JP Morgan said, in part, about the consequences of the Google/DoubleClick merger in a report released yesterday: “Better targeting opportunities. Google will now have behavioral data from search, email, video, and web usage on network sites. We believe this will allow the company to provide much better ad-targeting, leading to increased CPMs on DoubleClick sites.”

The EC approval of Google’s DoubleClick takeover

Statement on the EC Decision on Google/DoubleClick
Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy

By failing to impose safeguards, EC regulators have helped strengthen a growing digital colossus that will now be in a dominant position to shape much of the global future of the Internet and other online media. The EC [DG Comp] appears to have embraced the FTC’s flawed analysis of the online ad market. It represents the failure of antitrust regulators to understand and respond to the growing consolidation of control over online ad delivery, data collection, and the funding of content. This decision will have profound and unfortunate consequences for the Internet’s evolving role as a democratic communications medium.

EU and US antitrust regulators have also perversely set the stage for Microsoft’s goal of acquiring Yahoo!, furthering more concentration of control in the new media sector. Instead of ensuring competition, DG Comp and the FTC have literally paved the way for the emergence of a global digital duopoly over online advertising (which is the principal way online content is funded). By permitting Google to dramatically grow in clout, regulators will have to likely enable the further growth of a # 2 competitor to Google—which will be Microsoft.

US and European policymakers must reform the antitrust process to reflect the realities of the digital market era, where competition, data collection, and content creation are seamlessly intertwined. In today’s digital marketplace, the company that controls the most data about consumers and has the global reach to connect to them raises both anticompetitive and privacy concerns. An antiquated and piecemeal antitrust approach fails to protect citizens, consumers, and competition.

The Center for Digital Democracy, which opposed the Google/DoubleClick merger in both the U.S. and in the EC, will continue to press policymakers to play a more responsible forward-thinking approach to competition and consumer protection for online and interactive media.

Google+DoubleClick will = “the dominant player in behavourial targeting”

No, that’s not just CDD and other privacy advocates warning the public about this. It’s a quote from a panel held this week in Brussels by the “conservative think-tank, the Centre for the New Europe.” Here’s an excerpt of a story that quotes panelist Wayne Arnold from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and digital ad agency Profero: “Google is increasingly becoming the dominant player in the digital advertising space in Europe. If the Double Click acquisition goes through, this will provide Google with unrivalled access to consumer data and a foothold in the display media space – an area in which until now they have been relatively weak.”

The next big thing in online advertising is behavioural targeting, said Mr Arnold. This is a technique whereby advertisers increase the effectiveness of their campaigns by using data collected from someone’s web-browsing behaviour – that is to say, what sites they have been to and what things they have searched for.

The advertiser then uses this information to deliver adverts tailored to the perceived interests of the websurfer. The The Double Click deal will make Google “suddenly the dominant player in behavourial targeting,” said Mr Arnold.”

source: “Google-Double Click merger raises privacy concerns.” Leigh Phillips. Euobserver.com. 3/7/08.

Google (and UC Berkeley’s) Hal Varian’s failure to communicate on privacy

UC Berkeley professor and currently Google chief economist Hal Varian in a company blog post conveniently dodges the real reason why Google desires our search data. Notably missing from Prof. Varian’s “Why Data Matters” is any mention of online marketing. He fails to acknowledge that data “matters” to Google because its how Varian and other Google employees get paid–via the 99% of annual company revenues derived from interactive advertising and marketing.

As Google’s chief economist, Prof. Varian should do a new post where he identifies the financial benefit Google receives when it collects data about our searches, YouTube views, and interactions with interactive advertising.

Yahoo! Says its “Largest Publisher on the Web”

Part of our series on digital media marketing mergers, Microsoft-Yahoo! division. Via Yahoo!’s Sue Decker blog post:

“As the largest publisher on the Web that also leads in display advertising, and holds a strong number two in search, we maintain one of the world’s largest advertising networks and operate the Right Media Exchange. We’re truly in the best position to understand the evolving needs and demands of the entire ecosystem.” Ms. Decker explained that Yahoo!’s “cutting-edge” Apex platform “will enable all participants in the ecosystem to benefit:

  • Publishers will be able to better serve their advertisers’ needs by making it easy for publishers to sell, package, and distribute other publishers’ inventory alongside their own, giving advertisers extended reach to audiences across the Web through a centralized platform.
  • Advertisers will be able to spend more time on driving revenue and developing compelling creative for their audiences, rather than dealing with the complexities of ad generation, assembly, trafficking, and serving ads.
  • Advertising agencies will be able to streamline the buying process for multiple accounts across multiple publishers and allow for creative testing and campaign optimization, even as the campaign evolves.
  • And last but not least Advertising Networks will benefit from having a platform that connects publishers to the best advertisers for their site and audience, and advertisers to the best publishers with the most relevant audiences, thereby increasing both their reach in the process.”

The emerging online health field requires meaningful privacy and interactive marketing safeguards to prevent the exploitation of American consumers. Google, Microsoft and many others see digital gold from the online targeting of medical-related products & services. There will be a flood of personalized pitches from the Big Pharma brands, health remedies, and over-the counter remedies. Yesterday, CDT sent out an email saying that “[N]ext week the Center for Democracy & Technology will announce a major health privacy initiative that will emerge as the major player in this converging field, poised to stand in the gap, bringing providers, industry and consumers to the table to build workable solutions and impact policy makers.” The CDT missive explained that “[A]ddressing these issues requires a strong, credible voice, that combines privacy and technology expertise with a deep understanding of the health care system and the goals for information technology; a voice with privacy policy experience and an understanding of how technology can be used to improve health care.”

The health of the American public in the digital era will be directly connected to the policies we enact governing medical micro-targeting, data collection, and online marketing. Groups have to stand up for what is right for consumers. The new CDT effort–along with the online health data and marketing initiatives–will require close scrutiny. Protecting health-related privacy and ensuring safeguards for digital medical advertising are essential if we are going to engage in prevention.

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