Chapell & Associates

Monday, July 31, 2006

Warner Bros. To Cut Link With Adware Firm Zango

Washington Post - July 28, 2006 Warner Bros. Studios, home to Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo and Harry Potter, said yesterday that it plans to terminate a business relationship with Zango Inc., an adware company that has been offering free games on the Warner Bros. Web site in exchange for permission to install a computer program that could push advertisements and pornography.

The Chapell View
View Many of us were pretty surprised when this deal was originally announced. The record labels have traditionally been very conservative in their online endeavors. But Warner agreed to move forward so long as Zango in turn agreed to adhere to a set of standards. It'd be great to catch of glimpse of that set of standards - just to compare it to TRUSTe and similar efforts.

I've always thought that Zango (formerly known as 180 Solutions) had one of the more interesting business models in the adware space. The concept of accepting pop-ups in exchange for access to MP3's from your favorite garage band seems compelling - at least compelling enough that SOME people would be willing to make that deal.

The problem with Zango historically is that they have (allegedly) been unable or unwilling (depending upon whom you ask) to effectively police their large distribution network. And that's not me talking, that's the Center for Democracy and Technology as well as others industry experts with whom I've spoken with over the past year. Anyway, it would seem to me that if Zango could figure out a way to keep everything on the 'up and up' that they'd be able to leverage more deals like the one with Warner, and could hypothetically be the leading Adware company when all is said and done a few years from now.
posted by Alan on Monday, July 31, 2006 | |

Thursday, July 27, 2006

TiVo Is Watching When You Don’t Watch, and It Tattles

NY Times - July 27, 2006 (Registration Required)
AS the advertising and television industries debate how to measure viewers of shows watched on digital video recorders, the pioneering maker of the recorders,
TiVo, is getting into the argument. It is starting a research division to sell data about how its 4.4 million users watch commercials — or, more often, skip them. The service is based on an analysis of the second-by-second viewing patterns of a nightly sample of 20,000 TiVo users, whose recorders report back to TiVo on what was watched and when.

The Chapell View
I'm sure there's somebody out there blogging about the collection and sale of consumer television viewing habits. "Why does TIVO have a right to my information?" Etc. Etc. Etc.

But Tivo really isn't the story here. A quick glance at their
privacy policy indicates that they seem to do a pretty good job of disclosing their data collection practices. YES, their policy is too long, and written like a contract, and a pain in the arse to get through...

But the real story is the number of companies that have access to your consumption patterns. Television is relatively simple. Your Cable/Satellite company has access to this data, either by themselves, or via atechnologyy provider such as Invidi. And yourdigitall recording device, if you have one, also has access to this data. (i.e., Tivo).

What are the odds of the average person reading through even ONE of these privacy policies - let alone both of them?

And again - television is relatively simple, when compared to other forms of media consumption. Take a look at your computer, where several third party service providers have access to some or part of your data, including:

  • Your Internet Service Provider
  • Just about every web site you visit
  • Many of the thid party vendors for those web sites, including ad serving, behavioral targeting and analytics companies.
  • Your browser and/or operating system manufacturer
  • Other software resident on your computer, including certain anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  • The company that provides the names of artists on the CD's that you play/upload onto your computer.
  • The DRM agent when you purchase or consume music on your computer.

Now, let's assume that each of these organizations AREdoingg the right thing - as I think most of them are...

How long would it take a reasonable consumer to read through all those statements in order to make an informed choice? If a consumer opts out from one of these collection programs, how would they know their opt-out was honored?

Maybe the large online companies are right - build a brand, demonstrate trustworthiness... and bank upon that fact thatno onee has time to read the fine print...

posted by Alan on Thursday, July 27, 2006 | |

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Technologists square off on Net neutrality

CNET - July 17, 2006
Two Internet pioneers dueled on Monday over whether proposed Net neutrality regulations supported by companies like Google and are the best way to prevent "abusive" behavior by broadband providers. A debate here hosted by the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan research institute that brags of challenging "conservative thinking," pitted Google Chief Internet Evangelist
Vint Cerf, who co-developed the Internet's backbone protocols and has emerged as a leading proponent of congressional antidiscrimination mandates for network operators, against Dave Farber, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist widely considered to be a "grandfather" of the Internet.

The Chapell View
Seems like the whole Net Nuetrality debate is LESS about allowing broadband providers to charge more for high bandwidth internet traffic per se, and MORE about the carriers building direct relationships with Internet Users. Broadband carriers have increasingly recognized the folly of thinking like mere traffic cops, facilitating and regulating the content as it passes through their pipes. This type of thinking is what has commoditized their offering - driving down their ability to drive profit, recoup investments., Etc...

So this whole conept of Broadband carriers harming innovation by creating a two tiered system is somewhat of a red herring.

Broadband carriers have figured out that signing up new customers, and offering them additional products is only one way to grow revenues.

The REAL upside for the broadband carriers lay in their ability to leverage eyeballs. They are increasingly doing this in the mobile space, as well as the online media space. And THIS is really what's keeping the Google's and the Amazon's up at night. If the ISP's charge them more for access so what? But if they are able to develop direct relationships with internet Users, then they are positioned to take on the Internet Giants right where they live.

Remember, the broadband carriers have access to more data than anyone...
posted by Alan on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | |

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Corruptables, brought to you by the EFF

Does anyone remember the ACLU Pizza video? I sure do. I thought it was a brilliant effort, even if I didn't exactly agree with their viesion of Database America.

Now, thanks to Kevin Heller's
Tech Law Advisor blog, I've come accross this excellent piece from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Check it out - its cool. And its on point.

One area that doesn't get enough mention within the context of the great DRM debate is the impact that many of these devices have upon your privacy. I participated on a panel on this subject with some of my colleagues from Delloitte at the last IAPP conference.

Oftentimes, in order to enforce a copyright, the entainment industry needs transparency into the way users interact with various media. In other words, the entertainment industry needs to track the music consumption habits of EVERY user if they want to catch the 'bad guys' who are 'stealing' music. And historically, they don't do a great job of notifying users that they are collecting this data, explaining why they are collecting it, how long it will be stored, Etc...

And what are they doing with the music consumption data? In many instances, this data is being handed over to marketing and other departments. In privacy circles, that's considered a big no no. But in the DRM world where "it's my bloody content and I'll go to whatever lengths I need to in order to enforce my rights," it's all too commonplace...
posted by Alan on Monday, July 10, 2006 | |

Friday, July 07, 2006

Behavioral Retargeting 101

iMedia Connection - July 07, 2006 A Chapell Article
Marketers have been trying (and succeeding) to up-sell consumers for years-- it's hardly an idea that began with the internet. The era of online media, though, has brought a unique twist on this old concept: instead of trying to get consumers who made purchases in the past to buy again, what about getting consumers who didn't convert to buy for the first time?

This idea has led to the growth of retargeting (sometimes also referred to as "behavioral retargeting" or "behavioral search retargeting"). There are a few different models, but the basic idea is that by visiting a website, a consumer is demonstrating that s/he is interested in that website's products or services. Retargeting uses a website visit -- or a search ad that led a web user to a website -- as a targetable behavior...(more).

posted by Isaac on Friday, July 07, 2006 | |

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