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

Re: Frequency Capping

From: Peter Eckersley <peter.eckersley@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 17:57:58 -0700
Message-ID: <CAOYJvnKKrH4LhWgj1k9uWqkx3UAyFesUpDNja4KaOJ3aK=rhVw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu>
Cc: Tamir Israel <tisrael@cippic.ca>, Chris Mejia <chris.mejia@iab.net>, "Grimmelmann, James" <James.Grimmelmann@nyls.edu>, W3C DNT Working Group Mailing List <public-tracking@w3.org>, Mike Zaneis <mike@iab.net>, Brendan Riordan-Butterworth <Brendan@iab.net>
We understand that the advertising industry would be very unhappy if
explicit non-consent from a consumer prevented frequency capping.

>From privacy groups' perspective, there cannot be a Do Not Track standard
that allows unique IDs for frequency capping of non-consenting users.

Fortunately this is not an impasse, because there are many possible
technical methods to do f-capping without ID cookies or other strong
tracking measures.  Such methods are the obvious (and as far as I can see,
the only possible) compromise for f-capping.

The job of this working group is to write some compromise language that
says "you can do f-capping provided it is not achieved by tracking each
user or small group of users".  And the advertising industry groups can
help by bringing a few of their members' key engineers to look at that
language and spread the word: "yes, we can do that".

On 11 July 2012 15:26, Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu> wrote:

> I believe Chris Mejia entirely misunderstood my note yesterday, and the
> thread has since careened into a conversation about the business
> relationships and economic value associated with frequency capping.  While
> those topics appear to have been educational for some participants—please
> continue!—that was not at all my aim.
> I want to have a software engineering discussion about how frequency
> capping is currently implemented, and how it might be implemented in ways
> that better protect consumer privacy.  The CEO of AppNexus was kind enough
> to give details of his company's implementation which, as he explained,
> does not neatly integrate into a privacy-preserving approach.  Leonid
> Litvin from PulsePoint suggested that the algorithm I proposed—which is
> compatible with a privacy-preserving approach—might work.  Let's pick up
> from there.
> Jonathan
> On Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 2:29 PM, Tamir Israel wrote:
> OK Chris, I agree. I think my point was that DNT-1 is less a rejection
> of the value exchange than, say, AdBlock or a similar plugin.
> I understand that targeted impressions are worth more and I've heard
> they generate more click-through.
> I simply meant to say that DNT-1 a.) still allows impressions; and b.)
> still allows contextual targeting (by site, etc.), so its value is not '0'.
> Two quick side notes:
> I am not remotely convinced this spec is going to lead to ubiquitous
> DNT-1, and I don't think this working group is currently considering
> anything that might make this the case; and
> Also, I am no longer saying there is no value to F-capping for DNT-1s.
> It makes sense to me that at least some types of advertisers would want
> to just reach 'everyone' so would purchase, say, 10 million impressions
> hoping to reach 5-10 million people (whether targeted or not). On this
> scale, there is a definite risk of a DNT-1 user seeing the same
> advertisement more than once, and also there is a benefit to maximizing
> the ad campaign's reach, as desired, so some form of frequency capping
> would seem to have value.
> On 7/11/2012 5:08 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:
> Thanks Tamir. I stand corrected--consumers who elect to express DNT:1 MAY
> not have completely opted out of the value exchange, you're right.
> However, their relative value to the value exchange certainly goes down.
> To further explain, when users see un-targeted (randomly placed) ads that
> are not based on their general interests, they are likely to ignore those
> ads. In ignoring those misplaced ads, it's a double-whammy on industry:
> we pay to serve ads that the consumer will never engage with, nor buy
> their products/services. Obviously this decreases the relative value of
> that consumer engagement and lowers the overall revenue the publisher may
> charge an advertiser in connection with the serving of the advertiser's
> ads to that non-targeted consumer. In this case, f-capping would be even
> more important from a cost-savings perspective; the more non-relevant ads
> I serve a consumer, the more cost associated-- f-capping limits delivery
> and thus limits costs. Also, it's probably not a stretch to assume that
> many advertisers may not want to serve their ads at all to consumers who
> are expressing DNT:1. Enter the digital divide once again: anti-targeting
> may lead to a situation where the only ads being served to 'lower-value'
> DNT:1 users are the ones everyone would rather avoid (annoying content ads
> that are served only on a CPA basis). Premium content ads are generally
> very expensive to produce and serve (premium rich media ads cost more to
> serve), so my educated guess is that advertisers wont want to take a
> chance on where they will spend money serving these ads. So imagine that
> premium advertisers contractually obligate their publishers to set
> f-capping at 0/24 for DNT:1 users (this means that the premium ad would
> never be shown to the DNT:1 user). To play the end game, if DNT:1 signals
> were ubiquitous on the Web, the overall value of "free access" publishing
> would go down and I believe there would be a rapid proliferation of
> payment gateways in response (the money to pay for content and innovation
> has to come from somewhere). Once again, enter the new digital divide
> (where the 'haves' pay for access and the 'have nots" are denied access,
> based on financial ability to pay), courtesy of this working group, IF we
> don't get it right.
> Chris Mejia | Digital Supply Chain Solutions | Ad Technology Group |
> Interactive Advertising Bureau - IAB
> On 7/11/12 1:15 PM, "Tamir Israel"<tisrael@cippic.ca> wrote:
> Chris -- I personally found your explanation very useful so thank you.
> On 7/11/2012 3:27 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:
> Advertisers have plenty of
> reasonable business reasons to require f-capping in their contracts:
> i.e.
> a) not annoy consumers with overdelivery when such annoyance leads to
> negative advertiser brand association, and b) not needlessly waste ad
> impressions and money on serving ads over and over again to users who
> have
> opted out of the value exchange in the first place.
> It's not clear to me that selecting a DNT-1 means opting out of the
> value exchange. The very fact that you need to F-cap those who have
> chosen to send a DNT-1 seems to imply that these impressions remain
> valuable, at least to some extent (or, I imagine, no ad would be served
> at all and we need not worry about annoying users with repeated
> exposures or maximizing ROI).
> Best,
> Tamir

Received on Thursday, 12 July 2012 00:58:26 UTC

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