Digital Destiny

Jeff Chester Reports on Digital Media and the Public Interest


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7 years 18 weeks ago

September 14, 2010

As Facebook builds a larger online marketing and data collection infrastructure around the world, in the U.S.,  India, and in the EU, it’s important regulators, researchers, privacy and consumer protection advocates investigate how it operates its social media marketing business.  Facebook prefers to keep its interactive “marketing to the social graph” ad approach largely out [...]

September 13, 2010

Adify–owned by Cox Enterprises–provides online marketing and network tools–including behavioral targeting. It offers advertisers the ability to track you site to site (retargeting), can “deploy tracking beacons,” and uses “sophisticated logic to define targetable behavioral segments.”  Adify’s “platform powers more than 160 of the world’s best vertical ad networks, and connects premium brand advertisers to [...]
The new Consumer Financial Protection Board–and the FTC–will have their digital hands full as they begin to investigate the stealth world of online financial marketing.   Disclosure and consumer control has to be built into these applications–but they are not.  Of interest is a trial run by Google in the UK to sell credit cards, part [...]

September 12, 2010

Google is promoting its online clout for generating offline sales.  Given its expansion of mobile and location targeting, we think this upcoming panel featuring Google’s “Head of Consumer Goods” is of interest [our emphasis]: Search terms for consumer packaged goods from “yogurt” to “laundry detergent” to “eyeshadow” have seen double-digit growth, year over year. Why? Today’s [...]

September 11, 2010

Mobile marketers have embraced the behavioral tracking, profiling and targeting paradigm–but they now add real location.  Brightkite, which offers “highly targeted mobile media, says it delivers “Ultra-Targeted Advertising,” including: Real World Behavioral targeting Want to target people who have purchased items in a hardware store? Or people who go to the movies more than twice a [...]
When big advertising and media companies want to introduce a new or expanded form of marketing, they generally found some non-profit cause.  Who can complain about the techniques used–say for mobile ads, data collection, online games–when the funds are earmarked for a worthy charity?  It’s a time honored tactic, done by the Ad Council, initiatives [...]

September 10, 2010

Last week Google announced it was “simplifying and updating” its privacy policies.  As it so often does, the announcement was framed as a `we did for your good’ kind of effort.  “[W]e want to make our policies more transparent and understandable,” it explained, noting that “most privacy policies are still too hard to understand.” But [...]

September 9, 2010

Microsoft is one of the most aggressive online marketing companies targeting teens online.  Across the globe, Microsoft Advertising touts its ability to deliver interactive food and beverage ads on PCs, mobile phones, gaming devices and via IM, Bing, etc.  Teens and young adults are the key target–but so are young children.  In its desperation to [...]

September 3, 2010

Google, like other major advertising and media companies, works hard to please its biggest advertisers.  For decades, radio and TV networks relied on Standards and Practices divisions to screen programs to make sure they were suitable “environment” for commercials.  So-called “brand protection” has mushroomed online–as we predicted it would many years ago.  The business model [...]

September 2, 2010

In an August report, the Future of Privacy Forum told its supports that [our bold]: “We welcome Bering Media as a new sponsor of FPF… Thanks to our existing sponsors for their on-going  support: Adobe, AOL, AT&T, The Better Advertising Project, BlueKai,  Deloitte, eBay, Facebook, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, The  Nielsen Company, Qualcomm, TRUSTe, Verizon [...]

September 1, 2010

Teens are ground zero for the digital marketing industry, worldwide, since they are seen as the “always-on” online generation.  Companies such as Microsoft, AOL, Sulake, MTV/Nick and many others closely research the digital behaviors of youth–all so they can be better targeted online.  This week, Kmart became the lead sponsor for a new online series [...]

August 31, 2010

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a front-page story on retargeting--the practice of stealthily tracking an individual user online in order to keep delivering sales pitches–including for health and financial products.  We gave the NYT lots of information, including how so-called “smart” ads technologies are now melded with retargeting–for so-called “Retargeting 3.0.“  [My CDD and [...]

August 29, 2010

Google just acquired Angstro and hired its co-founder Rohit Khare. Khare will help Google create its new social network.  Last December, Khare warned about the growing lack of privacy online [excerpt]: “When RockYou can stash 32 million passwords in the clear; when RapLeaf can index 600 million email accounts; and when Intelius can go public [...]

August 28, 2010

For the last several years we have watched with dismay the largely stealth online data collection and targeting apparatus assembled for online financial marketing.  Everything from loans, credit cards, mortgages and insurance is increasingly sold online–an entire system has developed that stealthily `-e-rates’ us, including whether we are considered good prospects for various financial products.  [...]

August 27, 2010

August 23, 2010

From eMarketer on The Advertising Opportunity in Facebook Places [excerpt]: Facebook’s value as a business comes from all the bits of information it gleans about its users from their daily activities. Every single action people take—whether it’s writing a status update, posting a photo, commenting on a friend’s post, liking a marketer’s message or playing [...]

August 22, 2010

You have to follow your data [and your friends and networks]–that’s how the money is generated in online marketing.  This article via DM News explains that:“…Facebook continues to gather more information about what people do and where they are - critical data for marketers. “What I find interesting is where people check in [...]

August 21, 2010

We have been raising concerns about privacy and location data collection and targeting–including with our colleagues at USPIRG.  Facebook’s new location feature is designed to generate more user data that can be used by Facebook and its affiliates to bolster ad and brand targeting.  I want to excerpt this post from one of Facebook’s developers–Vitrue–which [...]

August 20, 2010

From the Connected Marketing Week in SF, via ClickZ:  Google is simultaneously attempting to fill the role of ad exchange, ad network, DSP (through its Invite Media acquisition), and media agency…Michael Rubenstein, president of AppNexus and the former head of Google’s ad exchange efforts, said Google has been admirably fair and transparent. But he said [...]

August 19, 2010

You have to read between the lines to understand what Facebook’s new location feature is really designed to do:  Open you and your friends to be more closely tracked by Facebook and its marketing partners, including major advertisers [Fans are worth money to Facebook and their marketing partners].   On Facebook’s blog post on the new [...]