« This Time It's Different | Main | Through The Chaos... »


Kye Swenson

Behavioural advertising is here to stay. That's why so many companies are starting to use Twitter accounts. They find out about new consumer interests from tweets posted everywhere. Twitter also now has a directory that automatically list local businesses and their information. Pretty cool.

- Kye, funnypromos.com

James Cherkoff

Thanks Kye, I haven't really thought about real time networks such as Twitter as behavioural advertising. Very interesting.

Brad Bell

Behavioural advertising seems to be much like surveillance/dataveillance. It is not intrinsically bad, but if bad people get hold of the tools, they can be used for bad things indeed. Which is a bit weird, as it seems intentions and relationships are at the heart of the issue.

Cases in point:
If a very nasty government with totalitarian aspirations comes to power in the UK, we are in real trouble. Blair eroded or removed most of the civil liberties we put in place to protect us from totalitarianism; we've got more CCTV than anywhere in the world; and the current government, which has shown gross negligence and incompetence with data, wants to issue ID cards. (!)

Many decades ago, I was quite proud of the Canadian government's demographic prowess. It seemed every Canadian was happy to share really extensive personal data with Stats Canada, because it would allow the nation to make informed decisions. It was science. It was a kind of national wealth. And that was a very great thing, but it was about a relationship, which the government later treated like a one night stand. They sold all the data to marketers - for $1. And that ended that relationship. (Try and get us to report/share data now! I feel so cheap. $1!)

Sharing data with Google on the other hand, hasn't been going too badly. Google tends to build things for end users like you and I. Google search provides value for end users, not MegaCorp users. Adwords provides value for Mom & Pop end users, not MegaCorp users. Google is a Web 2.0 company: it provides tools and services for you and I and the Moms & Pops of the world. Google genius is extracting value from the long tail.

The problem comes with companies like Phorm, who do not work for Mom & Pop. They work for MegaCorp. They provide value for ISPs and advertising companies. Mom & Pop do not get free broadband. They don't get anything. In fact they lose something: they can no longer trust their relationship with their ISP.

My point is behavioural advertising from Google is one thing because we have a good relationship with Google; we trust them; they work for us. My hope is that Google would do for behaviour advertising what they did for search.

As I recall, Google arrived on the search scene during what was called "The Death Of Search," where all the search engines had turned into portals with paid-for listings, ie. all the search engines where the Yellow Pages. The search engines were all working for MegaCorp. Google changed the game by working for us, providing results based on what *we* suggested were relevant. When everyone else was providing value for MegaCorp, Google changed the game by providing value for the rest of us.

In this context, one might ask how much we trust Facebook? Do they work for us? Will they continue to work for us? (It occurs to me that I trust Google more than my government. What does *that* say?)

It would seem the 1st principle of behavioural advertising is a trusting relationship with end users who gain value from the process.

James Cherkoff

Thanks Brad, I think you've got right to the heart of it there. Google certainly seem to take privacy very seriously. It's one of the points Eric Schmidt, the company's boss, always makes in his interviews. And it's interesting that feeling s about Facebook are quite different. And as for Phorm, that must surely go down as one of the most poorly handled marketing campaigns of all time. Talk about a missed opportunity!

The comments to this entry are closed.