Came across this article from last year, The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising. It takes a look at online advertising’s effectiveness. It seems the selection effect is strong, but not accounted for, because the metrics happen after that.

“It is crucial for advertisers to distinguish such a selection effect (people see your ad, but were already going to click, buy, register, or download) from the advertising effect (people see your ad, and that’s why they start clicking, buying, registering, downloading).”

They don’t.

All the data gathering, all the highly individual targeting, apparently means advertisers are reaching people they would already reach. Now people just click on a link the advertising company is paying extra for.

For eBay there was an opportunity in 2012 to experiment with what would happen if they stopped online advertising. Three months later, the results were clear: all the traffic that had previously come from paid links was now coming in through ordinary links. Tadelis had been right all along. Annually, eBay was burning a good $20m on ads targeting the keyword ‘eBay’. (Blake et al 2015, Econometrica Vol. 83, 1, pp 155-174. DOI 10.3982/ECTA12423, PDF on Sci-Hub)

It’s about a market of a quarter of a trillion dollars governed by irrationality. It’s about knowables, about how even the biggest data sets don’t always provide insight.

So, the next time when some site wants to emotionally blackmail you to please disable your adtech blockers, because they’ve led themselves to believe that undermining your privacy is the only way they can continue to exist, don’t feel guilty. Adtech has to go, you’re offering up your privacy for magical thinking. Shields up!

Medinge BWAC 2009 logoEarlier this month saw the announcement of this years Brands With a Conscience Awards (BWAC) by the Medinge group of which I am a member. The Medinge Group is an international think-tank on branding and business. In the Group’s opinion, these diverse organizations show that it is possible for brands to succeed as they contribute to the betterment of society by sustainable, socially responsible and humanistic behaviour.

The international collective of brand practitioners meets annually in August at a secluded location outside Stockholm, Sweden, and collaborate on the list, judging nominees on principles of humanity and ethics, rather than financial worth. The Brands with a Conscience list is shaped around criteria including evidence of the human implications of the brand and considering whether the brand takes risks in line with its beliefs. Evaluations are made based on reputation, self-representation, history, direct experience, contacts with individuals within the organizations, media and analysts and an assessment of the expressed values of sustainability.
Two years ago the group added a unique category commendation, the Colin Morley Award, recognizing exceptional achievement by an NGO. Mr Morley, a member of the Medinge Group, died in the London Underground bombings on July 7, 2005. The award commemorates his visionary work in humanistic branding.

For 2009, the group has singled out the following organizations as Brands with a Conscience:
Chhatra Sagar—an eco-resort in Rajasthan (India)
Ekomarine—environmentally responsible paint (Sweden)
Kiva—microfinance lending (USA)
One Water—enlightened bottled water (UK)
Ragbag—Fair-Traded fashion accessories from recyclable materials (the Netherlands)
TOMS shoes—developing nations’ shoe distribution (USA)

2009 Colin Morley Award
The third Colin Morley Award for a non-governmental organization is given to the American actor and philanthropist Paul Newman in posthumous recognition for an exemplary life of truth-telling and generosity.

Medinge BWAC 2009 logo

Early next month, on February 5th, the BWAC Awards will be given to the mentioned organisations, at a private ceremony at the Management Institute of Paris.
This years list of nominees was excellent, with nominations that represented a wider spectrum of geographic origin as well as a wider range of products and services. This made choosing and voting a bigger, but more worthwile, task than before.

As I was last year, I am very pleased to spread the word on the brands we have selected this year. Ever since I joined the Medinge initiative, now 6 years ago, I have enjoyed the discussion and energy in this world wide group of people. It thoroughly changed my outlook on the role of branding, from a mere marketing perspective, to how a brand can be the focal point of energy for everything I think is crucial in true collaboration within organisations, and stakeholder networks. For me knowledge and change management and branding overlap greatly. Acknowledging those organisations for whom their brand is the expression of how they see themselves as part of society, where the bottom-line is not the only and unique yard stick to measure success, seems therefore a logical extension of my vision on knowledge work, innovation and learning in a globally networked world.

Medinge Group
Members of the Medinge Group at last years Paris meeting

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(via Helge Fahrnberger)

A player of the EA Games product “Tiger Woods PGA Tour”, calling himself Levinator 25, finds a bug in the game. Tiger Woods can be made to walk and play on water:

More than 680.000 people see this report on a bug in the game.

EA Games responds with a video of their own, that gets viewed 2.4 million times. Talking about tracking the way people talk about you, and giving the company a human voice. Marketing and PR departments can add this one to their ‘good practices’ collection.

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Last week a reporter of a Dutch tv station reported how easy it was to get onto Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and even place a fake bomb in the cargo hold of a passenger plane. The conclusion was, that even though checks on passengers were relatively strict, checks on ground personnel were a joke.
Apparantly some people at Schiphol Airport, airline KLM’s home base, are worried/curious about the fall-out of this report.
In my serverlogs this morning:
a) visit from a KLM server.
KLM server visiting my site
b) via a Google search on Schiphol Security
KLM found me on 'Schiphol Security'
c) finding a blogpost of mine as the 3rd hit
My blog being the third hit
d) talking about how they overlooked a screw driver in my carry-on bag in 2006
The screw driver that got through security
Funny.