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TargetWhenever one of the main Web browsers announces that it will implement a new default do-not-track mechanism, the ad industry typically responds by slamming the move, suggesting that the new privacy controls will inevitably cause great harm to their business. Case in point, when Firefox recently announced that its next release will block third-party cookies, Mike Zaneis, general counsel at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, tweeted that it would be a “nuclear first strike” against the industry.

But I see these privacy controls a little differently. In fact, I think a shutdown of so-called online behavioral advertising could actually help publishers in the long run.

Context is where the value lies

When we look at why online CPMs have decreased so much for premium publishers (among whom we can count locally targeted news and information sites), it seems that the main reason is that as marketers become more savvy about online data targeting, the actual site that serves the ad begins to matter less.

Think of it this way: When Mercedes wants to reach people with high household income who are likely to purchase a luxury vehicle, they buy targeting data from a data broker like BlueKai to find people who are researching luxury vehicles and/or have high household incomes.

Read more at Street Fight

Matt (Sokoloff) Broffman  
Residential fellow


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