September 19, 2016

GOOG, FB, P&G Create Coalition To Do Nothing

I am traveling and speaking once again this week so blog posts will be thin on the ground. To atone for my negligence I am reprinting yesterday's Type A Group Newsletter here today.

Alarmed by a tidal wave of consumer antipathy to the awfulness of online advertising, last week a group of big-time advertisers, publishers, agencies, and media announced a coalition to "rid the internet of annoying ads."

Yeah, any minute.

According to MarketingWeek...
"The ‘Coalition for Better Ads’ aims to take on the “Herculanean task” of bringing together advertisers, agencies, ad tech and publishers to come up with global standards on digital advertising to tackle the rise of ad blocking."
I'm pretty sure they mean Herculean but, hey, who cares about language anymore?

Published reports claim that over 400 million people worldwide currently use software to block online advertising, and the number is growing rapidly.

Here are the self-proclaimed goals of this cruel joke of a coalition:
  • Create consumer-based, data-driven standards that companies in the online advertising industry can use to improve the consumer ad experience
  • In conjunction with the IAB Tech Lab, develop and deploy technology to implement these standards
  • Encourage awareness of the standards among consumers and businesses in order to ensure wide uptake and elicit feedback
This hooey reminds me of an initiative announced over five years ago by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) called "Making Measurement Make Sense" in which they formed a "coalition" to try to make sense of all the bullshit metrics the online industry was peddling. At the time I wrote...
"The enormous success of digital advertising is based on the fortunate circumstance that almost no one understands anything about the numbers."
Happily for the online ad industry the initiative came to nothing and the confusion over online ad metrics is greater than ever.

This new "Coalition For Better Ads," including Facebook and Google, is doomed to spin in circles and accomplish nothing except waste money because it will not deal with the real problem -- consumer stalking (aka tracking.) If they just got rid of tracking, a great many of the problems consumers, publishers, and advertisers are facing would evaporate.
  • Consumers would not be constantly stalked and harassed by tracking software leading to insufferable  "precision targeted" ads.
  • Quality publishers would be able to monetize their audiences instead of having their ad revenue stolen by crappy or imaginary sites through re-targeting.

  • Advertisers would know who they are reaching and where; not have most of their media dollars pissed away on adtech middlemen; not have to rely on problematic "ad networks."
But this coalition will deal with everything but the problem. The reason they will not deal with the real problem is that the people who own the internet -- Google and Facebook -- will never allow it.

As Doc Searls says, display advertising is "tracking-aimed junk mail that only looks like ads."

Google and Facebook will never accept the suppression of tracking because surveillance is their business.

Dracula is guarding the blood bank.

On The Road Again...
This week I will be in Oslo speaking for Discovery Networks Norway. Then traveling to Dublin, Ireland to speak at the ADFX awards.

Next week I'll be in NYC attending, reporting and podcasting from the week-long festival of self-promotion called AdvertisingWeek. Stay tuned. That should be good for a few laughs.

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