Apple Is Missing Out On Key Data; Amazon Disappoints Retailers

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Spoiling The Bushel

Apple’s industry-leading privacy standards are less of a clear-cut advantage in the market than they used to be. Shuttering iAd because user privacy wasn’t compatible with programmatic demand may have been a no-brainer, but data collection and modeling is becoming more intertwined with quality. For Spotify, success is knowing music preferences better than users do themselves, and the same goes for Netflix and TV programming, argues CNBC columnist Eric Jackson. Siri, on the other hand, applies no machine-learning personalization and discards user query logs after six months, which would be absolutely unthinkable at Google or Amazon (where a user has to manually delete information). Apple is losing in categories where it could be winning, and where people trust the brand enough to allow some slack in the privacy policy, Jackson writes. “Are the privacy concerns of Apple users now being best served if they've outsourced privacy to their competitors?” More.

In Full Bloom

The best walled gardens see the least sunlight. And certainly that’s true of Amazon, the third true giant in the category. Retailers are unsatisfied with the lack of data Amazon returns on sales. Retailers who sell wholesale on Amazon pay a fee to see what people bought after looking at their products. Conversion rates aren’t on the table, and brands never know who their customers are because Amazon handles shipping. Brands selling through third parties on Amazon get more insight on conversion and can control pricing, but still no insight into who their customers are. “The thing we have learned is that these are Amazon’s customers,” Jeff Berman, president of retail direct and ecommerce at Lifetime Brands, tells Digiday. “You don’t sell to Amazon. Amazon gives you the opportunity to sell to their customer.” More.

Carr Starts

The Federal Communications Commission will soon be operating at full capacity – finally. The White House confirmed on Wednesday that it’s filling the last remaining open Republican position at the FCC with Brendan Carr, a former telco lawyer who currently serves as the regulator’s general counsel. Carr isn’t the only agency appointee to serve as a telco attorney in a past life. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai once worked as a lawyer for Verizon. If confirmed, Carr will serve as a “reliable political ally” to Pai as the latter continues his push to deregulate the telecom industry and scrap net neutrality, Recode reports. But Carr isn’t 100% in just yet. He still has to go through a grilling by lawmakers and a vote in the Senate. But his chances are looking good.

Virtually Real

Google is on its way to monetizing virtual reality. Advr, launched from within Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, has built an experimental ad format that allows cube-shaped videos ads to run within VR content, TechCrunch reports. To keep ads nonintrusive, users can tap on the cube to engage with ads or simply look at the ad for a few seconds to open a video player. Google hopes to enable the function across its own VR headsets including Daydream and Cardboard, as well as Samsung’s Gear VR. More.

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