• 4 responses

    1. Ramsey McGrory
      September 5, 2012

      Tom has an amazing ability to brand dark things like 'data blood diamonds' and 'cookie licking.' What a funny visual. I agree with the general place Tom ends up here but how I get there is different.

      My point in 2009 wasn't specific to Right Media but a more general one - in the absence of clear language and accepted practices regarding data usage by buyers, silence in the IAB T and Cs at the time created ambiguity that more aggressive buyers took advantage of, claiming rights of re-usage to data associated with an ad served. This may have led buyers to bid higher b/c their lifetime value calculation changed with the subsequent usage of data. Right Media average yield was higher b/c of good bidding algos (developed in '04) and b/c of Yahoo's quality inventory, not b/c of rampant cookie licking. Remember that RTB was not at real scale in '09, so 'cookie licking' wasn't in the picture.

      Yahoo and others worked diligently with the IAB and with each other to come up with acceptable terms that allowed buyers and sellers to negotiate anonymous data usage (business terms consistent with privacy) for 'normal' and RTB ads served. I spent a lot of time on this in '09 and '10 so I believe 'cookie licking' is the exception rather than the rule among large buyers and sellers.

      Media exchanges and ad servers (not data exchanges) are in a position to ensure technically that this doesn't happen. It's not there yet, but will be I believe. Here's why - data in all its forms is the lifeblood of advertising and publisher, and this data must be at the point of the ad server or content management system to inform what content will promote the most engagement with a consumer.

      What Tom calls devices, I call infrastructure, and the faster the ad server and a CMS are connected to the core data infrastructure that holds both 1st party data and access to permissible 3rd party data, the better we will make consumer experiences and the better marketers we will be. If the infrastructure is not in place to activate and protect this data, everyone suffers, so it's going to happen.

      If there's a law from what I said, it's that innovation advances faster than the rules that govern it...in advertising, music, financial derivatives, war, everything.

    2. Tom Chavez
      September 6, 2012

      Thanks, Ramsey. I certainly agree. While we might have taken different paths to the same conclusion, we end up in the same place.

      You’re right: innovation frequently advances faster than our ability to govern or even make sense of its consequences. The tricks and methods people are using to gain value from ad exchanges, either contractually or in the shadows, were quite likely not even anticipated when you and others at RightMedia first willed them into existence.

      From what we can see, data collection on exchanges is more the rule than the exception.

      http://bit.ly/Q7B0R0

      Markets are efficient, which is why this makes sense The fact that data collection has become so widespread is evidence of its inherent value, but as you observe, one of the hazards of the web's openness and speed of innovation.

    3. Ramsey McGrory
      September 7, 2012

      Thanks Tom. This is interesting tracking, but I'm not sure this proves that data collection is happening. It shows piggybacking is happening, but assuming illicit data collection is a sizable leap. The piggybacked pixel would have to know the criteria that targeted the user to be able to 'lick' anything. And it would have to be javascript really. Even if it's js, publishers are often double i-framing the ads to protect themselves.

      A lot of this could simply be explained as cookie syncing where one party is working with another party legitimately, and to target, track, report correctly, the cookie IDs have to be sync'd. This lack of proper syncing is a fairly big problem in the industry.

      I don't have a dog (or exchange) in the hunt here anymore, but I'm not convinced this is a 3 alarm fire in a movie theater. I think it's more a dude standing five feet outside the theater smoking a cigarette where the smoke is wafting in.

    4. Clive Page
      September 13, 2012

      I would question Ramsey McGrory's suggestion that he no longer has a "dog in the hunt", having read the AddThis (of which Ramsey is the CEO) Terms of Service. The following section makes interesting reading...

      "DATA RIGHTS AND PUBLISHER PRIVACY POLICIES"
      "...you agree that we may collect data related to an End User's use of the Services including an End User's sharing of Publisher Content"

      See full copy here: http://goo.gl/GWuAN

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