Digital Marketing and Privacy: A Race to the Bottom?

Three separate but related items on privacy and digital marketing:

1.) Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols tells us over on ZDNet that the advertising industry’s voluntary do not track efforts went exactly nowhere.

2.) This morning, a friend called me about his sluggish computer and asked if I could help. He uses Yahoo has his home page and he said the computer just seemed slow, with web pages taking forever to load. I remotely logged into his computer and surmised that the problem was the sheer quantity of ads being served up by Yahoo and most other sites, and the amount of time it was taking them to load. I installed an ad blocker extension on his browser and saw immediate, positive results. The online adds were literally ruining his ability to consume the content he was looking for.

3.) My colleague Glenn Rossman penned this piece over on this blog about how, even after 20+ years, digital advertising is still trying to find its way in the world, while print continues its slow, inexorable glide path to oblivion.

We are in a vicious, downward spiral here. The content providers need to be compensated for the “free” material they are providing. But they are so ham-handed in their use of digital advertising that they are forcing people to block these intrusive, ineffective and cumbersome ads. The more we block them, the more desperate the Yahoos of the world get and serve up even more lousy ads. It never ends.

Something has to give. We need good quality content, now more than ever. Writers who create it deserve to be paid. We consumers deserve some measure of control over our privacy. Advertisers deserve to know that they are getting what they are paying for.

Right now, we seem to be failing on all counts.