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Last Week In Adops #10

a weekly email mocking the bullshit that is the adtech industry. usually sent out every friday so you have something to do while drinking that first beer/coffee 
(I don’t judge).

When Think Pieces Go Wrong

The Great Reckoning in Digital Attention

So I saw this article get a bit of traction in the adtecherati (it’s a thing, shut up) and finally took the time to read it. I won’t ruin the conclusion but…

First the author surmises that in the not-so-distant-future publishers will cede all digital display targeting to google and facebook. And instead focus all of their effort on selling their users products (subscriptions mainly). He actually describes programmatic as “revenue at the margins”.

Second the author pontificates on how brands / advertisers will totally change how they do things. Primarily by building a relationship with their customers by… wait for it… producing content. In this magical universe advertisers will do this by enlisting the branding studios of publishers.

Oh jesus now he’s talking about how ads don’t actually influence buying (yes I’m writing this as I read). He then torpedoes his previous point by applauding Apple on not tricking the buyer. And he finishes this bullshit sandwich by talking about some made up benchmark of what “true brands” achieve. Ok I can’t take it anymore I’m looking him up.

It all makes sense. This is just some bullshit article written by a CTO of an audience analytics company. It’s the worst form of native advertising. Native disguised as a think piece. No wonder the majority of the “true brands” he mentions just so happen to work with his company.

This, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with our industry. The smart people with good opinions/facts generally keep the information to themselves. And the hucksters get on their soapboxes and sell their vaporware while decrying the “injustices of the system”. They tell you the sky is falling but as luck would have it they have a sky-proof umbrella for sale.

TLDR; I read 1900 words about what’s wrong with digital ads and how brands need to be authentic with their audience by a CTO blatantly selling his own brand… so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Did Jason Kint Mention “The Duopoly” This Week?

This dude is so desperate to push his agenda he will hijack ANY conversation to talk about his thing.

Current streak: 5 weeks

Other Articles


Snap Acquires Location Analytics Startup Placed For More Than $200m

Ryan’s take: Seems fairly straightforward. Not a huge buy (bloomberg says it’s $125MM but whats a few million among friends amirite?) but it fills a need. Snap recently launched a “Snap to Store” ad product whose entire value-add is around measuring the number of users a Snap ad brought to a brick and mortar store. Kinda funny that Snap went from not offering “creepy” ads to having ads that follow every store you enter. If only someone had called that

Apple Adds Ad Tracker Blocker To Desktop Safari

This week’s BFD. Apple is improving Safari and building in a native tracker blocker that uses machine learning to block our shit. Ok so it’s not quite Google Chrome adblocker bad, Safari already blocks 3rd party cookies and now it’ll clear out trackers added by sites that you don’t visit frequently. Still the point remains… privacy blocking is now being built into the plumbing of the internet. And sure these first steps aren’t that bad but once the framework for blocking is built it is but a subtle shift to go from restricting to full scale blocking.

Pinterest Raises $150 Million at 2015 Share Price

I just don’t understand Pinterest. If anyone should be able to get that high-end fashion and homewares money it’s Pinterest. They have the audience, the visual search, the buyer intent… they should be printing money. Instead they’ve been flat for two years and were forced to raise money at their 2015 raise price. It’s not a dreaded down round but it’s about as close as you can come. I don’t get it. Maybe there’s something here I’m missing. Do their ad products suck? Their data? Is there something about their customers that I can’t see? Maybe usage has dropped off. I dunno either way this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, especially if they want to IPO.

How To Call B.S. On Big Data: A Practical Guide

No this isn’t adtech specific but everyone who reads about it should give this article a look first. When you’re first starting in the industry the most important thing is understanding the adtech universe. The different players and technologies and how they all interact. Once you get past that (level 1 thinking for you poker players out there) the next step is looking at those providing the information about this universe. Are they telling the truth or spouting bullshit? Can you spot the difference between someone ignorant of the truth and someone trying to hide the truth? It’s both easier and harder to tell with data.

WSJ’s Google traffic drops 44% after pulling out of First Click Free

Where’s that duopoly guy when you need him? Yeah this is the risk publishers take when they tweak their offering specifically for a single source. In this case the WSJ let google search viewers get their “first click free” in exchange for having Google better index their articles (and thus improve their SEO). Which is all fine and well until you no longer want to give people freebies but you also relied on that improved SEO and referral traffic. Caveat emptor.

This Guy’s Take On Blockchain (twitter)

(my take on blockchain ☝☝)

Adtech Writing In A Nutshell

Shameless Self Promotion

No podcast this week. Check me out next week tomorrow when I interview the don himself, Dan Layfield (@dlayf) the original adops podcast host.

Thanks for reading and have a great week! Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

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