Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


May

5

boucherThe wait is over, but not the debate. Today, U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (VA-09), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Cliff Stearns, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, released a discussion draft of legislation to assure the privacy of information about individuals both on the Internet and offline.

Congress may never pass a law, but for now at least, it appears our collective industry efforts to educate House Engergy and Commerce Committee members has paid off. I was especially relieved to read this paragraph about a “carve-out” for ad networks, which speaks directly to the huge educational efforts put forth by the IAB, NAI and several competitors and colleagues alike over the past year:

The bill creates an exception to the opt-in consent requirement for third-party information sharing by applying opt-out consent to the sharing of an individual’s information with a third-party ad network if there is a clear, easy-to-find link to a webpage for the ad network that allows a person to edit his or her profile, and if he chooses, to opt out of having a profile, provided that the ad network does not share the individual’s information with anyone else.

Consumer privacy groups are not satisfied with the fact that the legislation, as currently drafted, would rely heavily on consumers privacy policies. Yet, it would require companies to allow consumers a higher degree of control over the collection and use of their data. This requirement would be burdensome to advertsing companies, but in the long run may yield higher performance for advertisers and a more relevant experience for consumers. 

So it appears the online advertising industry dodged a bullet for now, but there is much more education and debate to unfold in the months ahead.

Click here to read an executive summary of the draft.

Click here for the full text of the bill.

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Posted in Ad networks, Behavioral Targeting, Online Advertising, Politics, Privacy, Uncategorized


Jan

27

S1CA46WV97CAI3LKQOCA20ZYTPCAOBT33FCAX162QFCA3KDPBQCAX2F0G6CAKL2C4LCACKPME0CAABJO4BCAP88BIPCAESC850CACB4QJLCAG9OEN3CAMA43G6CAPE004JCAPWN253CAH6Y0GUCAC5X6XAThere have been a few developments since my last post related to privacy legislation governing behavioral targeting, so here are a few noteworthy updates. While I thought a draft bill would have been introduced to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce before the end of 2009, I certainly did not hear anyone in the online advertising industry complaining about it.

There have been, however, plenty of complaints registered in recent months over a plan currently being negotiated in the Senate Banking Committee that would create an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency and reauthorize the Federal Trade Commission as part of pending finance reform legislation.

The plan attracted new attention from the industry last week when the IAB and other trade groups sent a letter to the Committee warning that the FTC could become too powerful under such a plan. Pace Lattin’s view was more entertaining than most news coverage of the topic and my favorite post since the ADBUMB founder launched his new blog, Industry Pace. The current political climate is one likely to see financial reform bill pass, however both The Huffington Post  and Fox Business report that bipartisan support for financial reform may hinge on dropping the CFPA issue.

Meanwhile, efforts in the House by Reps. Boucher and Stearns to introduce consumer privacy legislation that could mandate an opt-in consent for data collection remain in hearings before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, most recently Exploring the Offline and Online Collection and Use of Consumer Information on Thursday, November  19, 2009.

Kudos to the entire industry’s aggressive self-regulatory efforts in staving off any harmful legislation so far, and especially the leadership of Randall Rothenberg ,whose recent op-ed piece in The Hill did a great job of defending our collective position on the topic.

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Posted in Behavioral Targeting, Politics, Privacy


Nov

26

dfr09_banner_125x125Digital Family Reunion -  December 2 I’m getting excited about  seeing everyone at the second annual Digital Family Reunion on December 2 at Wokcano in Santa Monica and wanted extend the invitation for WOTW readers to attend under my discount code “dfr30″ to save $20. We will again be presenting an Outstanding Achievement award to a distinguished member of the community — last year I presented the award to Nolan Bushnell and interviewed him on stage during the event. If you’re not in LA but you know someone who would appreciate attending the hottest tech party of the holiday season, please pass along the info!

Affiliate Convention – December 3-4

I’m moderating a panel on “Lead Generation Strategies” at Affiliate Convention in Los Angeles on December 4 at 10:30 a.m. The My panel includes some of the brightest minds in the category, including Jon Kelly of SureHits.com, Adam Haber of InsuranceQuotes.com and Curtis R. Curtis of BlitzLocal. It’s a pleasure to help Daron and Brandy Babin promote their new conference and I’ve been using the occasion to get closer to issues and opportunities abound in the ever-changing lead generation industry.

Virtual Book Party for About Face – December 10

As a co-author of About Face: The Dramatic Impact of the Internet on Politics and Advocacy, I’m participating in a “virtual book party” to promote the book on December 10, along with Karen Jagoda and a few of our fellow co-authors. Please buy the book and attend if you have any interest in the 2010 election and how digital media is being used in political and advocacy campaigns today. 

I hope to see you at one of these events!

TW

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Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Events, Lead Generation, Politics


Nov

5

EvoterOn the heels of the 2009 election which included some important mayoral and gubernatorial races and ballot initiatives, I’m pleased to participate in the E-Voter Institute webinar “Looking Into the Crystal Ball: Primaries 2010” on Thursday, November 6, 2009 at noon PT. Attendees will receive a copy of the Institute’s new book About Face: The Dramatic Impact of the Internet on Politics and Advocacywhich includes two chapters I authored on lead generation and the use of video in political marketing online.

In addition to showing the kind of voter information that can be sourced using comScore’s Plan Metrix psychographic data (includes “political activities,” “political outlook” and “political affiliations”), I will be presenting various ways for political marketers to reach and persuade voters online. From basic demo/psycho/contextual/technographic targeting to more sophisticated forms of behavioral targeting and use of third party data to identify voters while keeping within bounds of current regulatory guidelines surrounding online behavioral advertising.

I’ll also be speaking about the impact of creative in persuading voters, the ability to measure the effectiveness of persuasion efforts and the importance of making online advertising just one aspect of a good integrated plan that takes into consideration fundamental political marketing concepts and the integrated use of offline media, search and social media.

If you’re reading this before noon PT on 11/6/09, it’s not too late to join us! Or please forward this link to any of your politically minded marketing colleagues.

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Posted in Behavioral Targeting, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Politics


Oct

6

clintonI attended a talk by the 42nd President of the U.S., William Jefferson Clinton last night at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Packing a wealth of stories, stats and a good sense of humor, he promised and then delivered a framework we can all use to make sense of today’s complex world in which we live. Wondering about what caused the financial meltdown of September 15, 2008? How about our education crisis (according to Clinton we slipped from first to tenth in the past decade)? Or how we’re to “win” in Afghanistan?  For most of us, it takes every bit of our energy to deal with life’s immediate challenges, let alone trying to sort fact from fiction from all the information we’re bombarded with in today’s fragmented and often biased media ecosystem. His talk gave a fresh perspective on how to interpret the world today and some guidance on what we can do to affect change.

The number one definining characteristic of the 21st century is our global interdependence.  The result of our diversity and new technologies like the Internet carry with it both good and bad consequences. Posit for a moment that we know the good things, namely technology. Most of the bad consequences of our interconnectedness are defined by inequality and instability.

Inequalityis presented primarily in education and income. One billion people live on less than $1 per day, one billion people will go hungry tonight and one billion don’t have access to clean water. One quarter of everyone who dies on the planet this year will be due to tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS or dirty water. And of the dirty water victims 80 perent will be under five years old. In the U.S., 90 percent of our growth in recent years has gone to 10 percent of the population.

Instabilityis created by how quickly thing can spread, from terrorism (easy access to information) to Swine Flue (permeability and uprootedness) to the world financial crisis (inter-connectedness of financial systems). Even with $3 trillion in cash, a whopping 2 million factory workers in China are unemployed because the rest of the world is not buying as much of their exports.

In light of the complexities in our interconnected world, we need a framework from which to act. How do we respond to these many challenges? Not more liberally, but in a more “communitarian” fashion — more succinctly put, by focusing on creating win-win situations. For every situation or decision, he asks “will this  bring us closer together or tear us further apart?” 

Prime examples where “win-win” has worked are in Iraq where the people ultimately declared a common enemy in Al Qaeda. In Tanzania where our continued efforts to finance AIDS and Malaria relief have demonstrated our commitment their children. And in Rwanda, where the Tutsi leader insisted his post-genocide successor be a Hutu, and engraining in his people the need for win-win by granting land to those who would live next door to someone from the rival tribe.

Another timely example of searching for win-win was through a clear explanation of health carereform, including the back-story on “death panels,” and distinctions between terms like “public option” and ”socialized medicine.”  Every year we spend 17 percent of our income on health care– money consumers aren’t investing in other things, which gives other countries that much more of an advantage over us on the world economic stage.  The bottom line: if you’re not for some kind of change in health care, you are a proponent of win-lose, not win-win.

One of the things that stood out for me most was Clinton’s commentary on the differences between being a sitting president and a former president. “The good news is, you can say anything you like,” he said. “The bad news is that nobody cares about what you have to say…that is, unless your wife happens to be Secretary of Sate.”

While this was met with laughter, it was obvious everyone should care about what this former president has to say. He is using his clout and connections through the William J. Clinton Foundation to make a difference in the lives of millions through several thoughtful initiatives. And while he has raised hundreds of millions from the wealthiest people in the world, he stressed the importance of each individual being called into service in some way. He spoke of the secret of the U.S. economy having always been the strength of our middle class, and how this group must now stand and help the U.S. regain its footing in our inter-connected world. “It’s not enough to work and pay taxes, raise a good family and show up to vote.” There are one million public service groups to which we can donate our time and expertise, over half of which were started in the last year.

While it’s of course possible to donate to the Clinton Foundation, he did not make a direct pitch but rather spoke about Kiva.org, where for $25 you can make the difference in the life of someone anywhere in the world whom the group has already vetted as qualified for needing assistance.

Something else that resonated with me personally, and I don’t think he would have said as president, is how we treat others is dependent upon our own identity and what we think about ourselves. Identity is highly complex, but we need to realize how much we are all alike. In fact, the argument in genomic circles is whether we are genetically 99.5 or 99.9 percent alike. By continually forcing ourselves to communicate with the other side we become more comfortable with one another. When we see how alike we are, we eventually decide that it’s less costly to work with together than to keep killing each other and we collaborate in the interest of finding win-win situations. It is imperative in the modern world that we leave the door open.

While everything President Clinton had to say was in line with my own opinions, I hope his thoughtful presentation gave those of every political persuasion a new perspective on tolerance and possibility. It was awe-inspiring for me to hear this brilliant mind, speaking in his familiar and reassuring tone of so many examples of hope and of what is possible if we work together and apply ourselves to overcoming our collective challenges, be they local or global.

Think win-win and dedicate yourself to some form of public service. And when you do, I hope you’ll let me know about it.

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Posted in Culture, Economy, Education, Environment, International, Internet, Philosophy, Politics, Science


Oct

1

last6_iconRep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) has preliminarily outlined legislation he will  introduce to regulate consumer privacy in a thoughtful editorial in The Hill entitled “Behavioral ads: The need for privacy protection.” In a separate interview related to net neutrality, he stated that he hoped the bi-partisan legislation would be introduced before Congress adjourns on October 30.

In the article, Boucher clearly articulates the issues related to how behavioral advertising impacts consumer privacy and he makes a reasonable argument for ways to give consumers assurances  about what data is being collected about them without disrupting the online advertising and e-commerce ecosystem. Particularly encouraging is his recognition of the fact that behavioral targeting tailors ads to consumers’ interests and helps keep Internet content free.  

From the article it sounds like Boucher ”gets it,” but there were plenty of details left unstated and the lobbying efforts of industry associations and companies with a stake in the outcome will no-doubt continue up until the deadline. It will be interesting to read the finer points of the legislation and it looks like a bill may now be just weeks away.

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Posted in Behavioral Targeting, Internet, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Politics, Privacy


Sep

18

big brother2009 has been an active year for self-regulation efforts on the part of the online advertising industry, led in large part by signals from the FTC that it may act to regulate behavioral advertising to protect consumer privacy. Associated Press coverage of the debate last week is a clue things are heating up, and this week the FTC announced it will host a hearing on the topic on December 7. Battle lines are being drawn between consumer privacy advocates on one hand and industry trade organizations on the other who are mobilizing to assemble self-regulatory guidelines to head off legislation.

It’s a foregone conclusion that Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are drafting an online privacy bill that would govern the collection and use of consumer online behavior. While the debate may go from sub-committee to the full Energy and Commerce committee this fall, it is looking less likely that legislation will be heard by full House of Representatives in 2009.

What’s at issue primarily is the collection and use of behavioral data, the control consumers have over their own data and the likely harm, or lack therof, that could come from the data depending upon your position in the online advertising ecosystem.

Here is a roundup of publicly available information regarding where the FTC, key trade groups and Congress stand on the issues as of today.

December 16, 2008

Network Advertising Initiative Announces 2008 NAI Self-Regulatory Code of Conduct for Online Behavioral Advertising http://networkadvertising.org/networks/2008_NAI_Principles_PR_FINAL.pdf

February 12, 2009

FTC Staff Revises Online Behavioral Advertising Principles
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/02/behavad.shtm

June 18, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives – Committee on Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection – Hearing on Behavioral Advertising: Industry Practices and Consumers’ Expectations
http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1678:energy-and-commerce-subcommittee-hearing-on-behavioral-advertising-industry-practices-and-consumers-expectations&catid=129:subcommittee-on-commerce-trade-and-consumer-protection&Itemid=70

July 2, 2009

Key Trade Groups Release Comprehensive Privacy Principles for Use and Collection of Behavioral Data in Online Advertising http://www.iab.net/about_the_iab/recent_press_releases/press_release_archive/press_release/pr-070209
http://www.iab.net/media/file/ven-principles-07-01-09.pdf

September, 2009 

Privacy groups release “Online Behavioral Tracking and Targeting, Legislative Primer” http://www.uspirg.org/uploads/s6/9h/s69h7ytWnmbOJE-V2uGd4w/Online-Privacy—Legislative-Primer.pdf

Here are a few recent articles related to online behavioral advertising you may find of interest:

Four Privacy Protections the Online Ad Industry Left Out
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/06/four-privacy-protections-the-ad-industry-left-out/?ref=technology

FTC Hires Privacy Blogger
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=111800#comments

Fresh Views at Agency Overseeing Online Ads
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/05/business/media/05ftc.html

The FTC Takes On Targeted Web Ads
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2009/tc2009082_486167.htm

Privacy Groups Aim for FTC to Help Guide Online Privacy Law

http://www.clickz.com/3634859

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Posted in Advertising, Behavioral Targeting, Online Advertising, Politics, Privacy


Jul

4

selfregKnowing firsthand the logistical and political issues creating industry guidelines can create, I’ve been impressed by our ability as an industry to move quickly in response to the FTC’s mandate earlier this year for more industry self regulation around behavioral advertising. A consortium including the IAB, DMA, 4As, BBB and the ANA this week published its Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. Though many details and the motives of various segments of the industry are understantibly excluded, the document is evidence that the industry is truly aligned behind these important trade organizations.

Much more water needs to travel under this bridge, and it’s difficult to know if the principles as outlined will keep federal legislation at bay, but they are straightforward, comprehensive, well-intended and easily digested.

Speaking from my own bias, I am encouraged that service providers required to get permission to track behavioral data does not appear to include display advertising networks. Whatever happens next, I’m confiden our collective education efforts will result in Congress understanding that companies that do not have access to personally identifiable information should not be held to the same opt-in behavioral targeting standard as those that do.

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Posted in Ad networks, Behavioral Targeting, Politics, Privacy


Jul

2

about_arnold_img3 Thanks to David Lewis for bringing to my attention Arnold Schwarzenneger’s sense of humor and appreciation for political theater. In the video below, which he tweeted about yesterday, the governor calls out legislators for debating about expansion of an existing law that makes it a misdemeanor to cut the solid part of the tail of any horse in the operation known as “docking.” Senate Bill 135, introduced by Dean Florez, would likewise prohibit the docking of cattle.

On a more serious note and more relevant to online advertising, Governor Schwarzenneger yesterday announced Overstock.com will reinstate California-based internet affiliate advertisers. This is great news for the affiliate marketing industry, which is fighting hard to avoid the so-called Amazon Tax from being introduced in California.

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Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Politics


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