Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful

What happens, though, if sellers try to reduce the load that advertising carries, by “efficiently” targeting some users and not others? As a member of the audience, the more likely it is that the ad you’re seeing is custom-targeted to you, the less information the advertiser is able to convey. With good enough targeting, you could be the one poor loser who they’re trying to stick with the last obsolete unit in the warehouse.

via Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful.

Today, though, we have different norms and technologies around security. A .EXE in email will get quarantined, filtered, or buried under layers of warnings.

The same thing is happening with privacy problems. Browser developers are steadily closing the bugs that make creepy tracking possible. And yes, that makes some advertising techniques obsolete, the same way that corporate virus checkers killed off the animated .EXE Christmas card business.

But if you want to send customers a holiday greeting, you still can. And after the web fixes its privacy bugs, you’ll still be able to advertise. It will just work better.