W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tracking@w3.org > October 2012

Re: Proposed Text for Local Law and Public Purpose

From: Chris Mejia <chris.mejia@iab.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 16:06:45 +0000
To: Walter van Holst <walter.van.holst@xs4all.nl>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
CC: David Wainberg - NAI <david@networkadvertising.org>
Message-ID: <CCAD7F28.2625D%chris.mejia@iab.net>
Hi Walter,

It's difficult to follow the intertwined thread now (who wrote what), so I will make my points to yours below, here at the top:

  1.  No, I can't imagine the practice of legitimate marketing or legitimate marketers as a "force for evil".  Of course I can only attest to the business practices of "white hats"-- companies that are not interested in evil doing, who conduct their businesses on the up-and-up, within the law, and in a responsible manner; those are the companies I represent here and those are the companies that the W3C would have adopt this specification.  So unless you think that the "black hats" will somehow respond to DNT, and DNT will then become a force for stopping evil practices amongst black-hat nefarious actors, I'm afraid that your argument is rather void in the context of this group's purview (see below for suggestion on where to take your argument).
  2.  Sure.  I have heard time and again in this forum, from several participants, about the so-called practice of "governments tapping into marketing data in order to oppress some group of people."  Fortunately, we have other laws to cover that sort of thing.  If you don't believe those laws work, I'd humbly assert that perhaps your time would be much better spent in helping bolster enforcement of existing laws that prevent such forced or nefarious access.  In fact, I'd be happy to volunteer some of my personal time in that direction— but let's be clear, marketing companies don't do this.
  3.  With respect to your assertion that there is "massive collection of online behaviour data without transparency or consent", thats simply not true.  Now you, personally, may want more transparency and more consent, but to say it doesn't exist, as a de facto statement of "truth", just isn't true.
  4.  Thanks for calling out my explanation of how online marketing actually works as a "rant."  Calling my explanations of industry practices "rants" will surely lead to more willingness to be transparent— good approach.  Maybe others will consider it more humbly as an opportunity for education— I hope so.
  5.  Respectfully, your assertion that 1-1 marketing is the "holy grail" further illustrates your unfamiliarity with our business.  1-1 doesn't work in online (and I'm not sure it really works anywhere).  If you'd like to understand why it doesn't work (and thus why it's not something commonly practiced by the companies I represent), I'd be happy to have a phone call with you (and other sincerely interested parties) to explain in detail— but for now, I'm going to save this forum a long, drawn out lecture on this subject.  It's just not something we do, believe it or not.
  6.  Sir, since you have basically called me a liar in your last point below, what actual proof do you have of nefarious activity/intent in my industry?  We have time and again called for actual cases of nefarious activity/intent to be brought to light, so we may address those appropriately, if they exist.  Industry in fact self-regulates for this kind of activity, and we have no issue keeping our own house clean.  But I have yet to see even one demonstrable example of wide-spread harm or intent to cause harm by legitimate marketing entities surfaced here.  If you want to regulate the nefarious, you are barking up the wrong tree— go partner with law enforcement, like we do for the same purpose.
  7.  The definition of "nefarious" is "flagrantly wicked or impious : EVIL (from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nefarious).  My industry does not fit that description.

Chris Mejia | Digital Supply Chain Solutions | Ad Technology Group | Interactive Advertising Bureau - IAB


On 10/24/12 10:03 AM, "Walter van Holst" <walter.van.holst@xs4all.nl<mailto:walter.van.holst@xs4all.nl>> wrote:

On 10/24/12 3:28 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:

advertising, which was not so successful until OBA.  The reason that OBA
has elevated online display advertising is because it matches the user's
interest with ads that may be interesting/relevant to the user.  There is
no nefarious purpose here, unless of course you think the age-old practice
of marketing is somehow nefarious?  Maybe that's your point?  That
marketing itself is bad for the world?

I have a background in business (and even some marketing diplomas
collecting dust) and certainly would not say so. What I think is wrong
is the collection of personal data across various contexts, without the
persons involved even being aware of it or letting them provide
meaningful consent for it. If you believe that marketing can be a force
for good (which I happen to do), you probably can also imagine it
becoming a force for evil.

Second, it would be helpful if those chiming in on this forum understood
how the business on online marketing actually works (vs the
conspiracy-theory-laden and meritless/fact-less assertions that are often
propagated here).

Would you care to point out any of those meritless/fact-less assertions?
Perhaps by disclosing actual industry practices?


such, in the vast majority of cases, is deleted or hashed.  Such data may
be kept for other good reasons (i.e. financial reporting and auditing
requirements), but to be clear, THOSE THINGS ARE NOT OBA.

Ny apologies for using a narrow term for something wider: the massive
collection of online behaviour without transparancy or consent.


Marketers have been segmenting potential consumers into "marketing
segments" using observed behavior as a tool for doing so, since the
beginning of consumerism (AD).  If you don't believe me, take trip through
the Advertising Museum in Tokyo (quite a nice museum and research archive
I'll add). What we marketers are doing today is no different-- other than
the scale and speed, which might make it seem scary, but only if you don't
know what your are looking at.  The vast majority of marketers are not
interested in keeping detailed "digital dossiers" of absolutely everything
you do online.  In fact, to me, you are just a number, and quite
anonymously so.  You are grouped together with millions of other numbers
in "marketing segments".  And marketing segments (thousands to millions of
anonymous numbers grouped together) are what marketers buy from publishers
and ad networks, for the sole purpose of showing their product's ads to
folks who might be interested in buying.  In fact, this practice which
pre-dates online, is what fuels modern economy.    So perhaps you have
issue with the idea of marketing-- to me it sounds that way, given your
strident rhetoric?  If so, please avail yourself.  But if your issue is
indeed with the common marketing practice of segmentation, then first take
some time to understand it (how it actually works), so your comments here
are informed and productive, rather than misleading.

I am sorry Chris, but I am not allowing you to twist my argument into a
rant against marketing or market economies in general. I am quite aware
of what market segmentation entails. OBA goes a lot further, it is about
the holy grail of marketing, namely one-on-one marketing. Which in
itself is not a bad thing, since it may allow for lower transaction cost
and thus adds lubricants (not fuel) to the economy. Where it veers into
'nefarious' territory is when data from different contexts is being
mixed and matched, without the subject of that data having any say in
that. Basically: you want to get to know me, regardless of wheter I want
it or not.

And frankly, I do not believe your statement that it is only about
grouping together in segments, because industry has so far refused to
disclose its practices. It is 'trust me because we say so'. If any
complaints about conspiracy theories may be warranted, then it is
because those only get fueled by the flat out refusal of any transparancy.

Regards,

Walter
Received on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 16:07:53 UTC

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