July 01, 2015

We'll Never Sell Your Personal Information. Unless We Need The Money.

Pretty soon the whole house of cards that is the Internet Bubble 2.0 will come crashing down.

When it does, we'll finally get an unambiguous view of what a fetid pile of crap the whole ad supported web has been.

In addition to the fraud, criminality, and corruption that are the everyday life of the web, last week we learned of two other facts that reinforce the belief that we can never accept anything that anyone associated with the ad supported web tells us.

Revelations about the amount of data web publishers collect has led web publishers to assure us that our data is safe with them and that they "respect our privacy."

A piece in The New York Times last week reveals that, like so much else they tell us, this is complete bullshit. The Times did a study of the top 100 sites in the U.S. recently. Here's what they discovered:
"Of the 99 sites with English-language terms of service or privacy policies, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale or other transaction occurred"
The Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center had this to say...
"...companies make representations that are weak and provide little actual privacy protection to consumers...”
Or as the Assistant Attorney General of Texas put it...
"...we are never going to sell your data, except if we need to..."
The second revelation was about Google. Google, of course, makes its money by misdirection.

Instead of directing you to the most relevant answer for your inquiry, they direct you to the company that pays the most to "own" the term you are searching.

We have been led to believe that once we got by the misdirection of the first few Google results -- that are the product of "paid search" (which is just a euphemism for advertising) -- natural or organic search would be free of misdirection and would give us an unbiased answer. More bullshit.

An article in The Wall Street Journal last week reported...
"New research by two U.S. academics suggests that Google Inc. is harming Internet users and violating competition laws by skewing search results to favor its own services"
The article cites a study conducted by two prominent American academics...
"The study’s authors—Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Tim Wu of Columbia Law School—found that users were 45% more likely to click on results that were ranked purely by relevance, rather than as Google ranks them now, with its own services displayed prominently."
The ad supported web is currently headquarters for the world's sneakiest little bastards. Almost everything they say is untrustworthy. Only a fool takes anything they tell us at face value.

June 29, 2015

Why Won't Broadcasters Fight?

The great Dave Trott has distilled the essence of effective marketing strategy into two words -- predatory thinking.
"Predatory thinking is ruthless and aggressively focused on beating the competition."
Predatory thinking is not for the timid or the fearful. It is not for the fat and happy. Is not for those who have forgotten how to defend themselves.

It is not for the U.S. broadcasting industry. Our broadcasting industry refuses to fight.

In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to speak to several broadcaster groups. They are good, well-meaning people. But they don't get it.

They know they are getting their asses handed to them by the online ad industry. They know the online ad industry is very vulnerable on many fronts. But as I wrote a while back...
"(The online ad industry) have the press in their back pocket; they have ad agencies pimping for them. But broadcast(ers)... are pathetically unprepared for this fight. They haven't learned that if they don't tell their story, no one else will."
The broadcast industry is so used to printing money (in their heyday some had margins of 60% and higher!) that they seem to have decided that a permanent posture of aggrievement is a substitute for a fight. 

They are being taken to the cleaners by hyper-motivated digital evangelists who understand what predatory thinking means.

It's not as if the broadcast industry doesn't have a good story to tell, they just don't seem to know how to tell it.

It's not like they don't have the resources to tell their story, they just refuse to use them.

It's not that they don't have a killer weapon, they just don't recognize it.

It's not that the broadcast industry isn't doing a good job of implementing their strategy, they don't even have a strategy. 

The longer they allow the online ad industry to convince impressionable marketers and clueless agencies that broadcasting is dead or dying, the closer they are to enabling those fictions to become facts.

I have no dog in the fight between traditional and digital advertising. I don't care who wins or who loses.

But I bought a ticket and I want to see a good fight. All I'm seeing is one lean and hungry fighter and one overweight punching bag.

June 25, 2015

Thank God For Marketing Experts

Here at the Ketel One Conference Center of The Ad Contrarian Worldwide Headquarters, we have finally realized that there are two kinds of marketing and advertising people in the world.

There are Experts, and there are Schmucks Like Us (SLUs).

The Experts are much more important than SLUs because Experts are not only smarter than us, they're smarter than the facts.

You see, we SLUs see a fact and we assume it means something. But the Experts see a fact and they know it means exactly the opposite.

Here's an example.

Nielsen just released its Total Audience Report for the first quarter of 2015. It shows that 96% of video viewing in the US is done on a television and 4% is done on a PC.

To Schmucks Like Us this might suggest that television is kicking the living shit out of PC viewing.

But not to Experts. Experts and their Expert friends don't need to read reports. They go to  conferences and write books and articles and they explain to each other -- and lecture to us -- that TV is dead. They're smarter than the facts.

Here's another example:
Schmucks Like Us would look at this chart and assume that because radio reaches a higher percent of Americans every week than any other medium, it must be pretty popular. Ha! Thank goodness we have experts to explain to us that radio, too, is dead.

I think it's time that Schmucks Like Us stop reading reports and relying on facts. Not if we ever expect to become experts.

(And don't forget, there's a lot more for Schmucks Like Us here.)