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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ad Me, the future of internet advertising

What does the future of Internet advertising look like?

Given the issues with privacy, the sophistication of server side data analysis and predictive modeling, the massive under-utilized processing power of my personal electronics (phone, netbook, laptop), and the acceptance of “free” as a money-making economic model, I’m pretty positive we’ll see a power shift to the individual.

“It won’t be my son’s Web 2.0, it will be “Ad Me.”

Many people, not all, will take control of their personal information and create rules, permissions, and filters using Personal Relationship Management (PRM) software and/or “User Managed Advertising Permission Systems” (Umaps).

“I will take a higher level of control for some, not all, of the messages to which I am exposed. I can define and quantify my value, then put it forth for an exchange. I will expose my identity where ever and whenever I decide. I’m willing to be a target, a known target, when it serves my purposes.”

Core components to these PRMs & Umaps are:

-> Central personal profile account which consolidates the data I already have at sites like LinkedIn, FaceBook, Classmates, Amazon, eBay, Digg and creates a universal profile under an OpenID. Once the namespace and APIs are created, all kinds of data about me can be connected by me: credit card purchases, loyalty programs and frequent buyer clubs, phone records, medical data, and even physical wanderings via GPS.

-> A new set of Creative Commons “Personal Data T&Cs” will be created so I can choose to interface with different types of servers and establish my privacy rights and ownership of data (invisible in the background).

I will expose none/some/all of my ZAGI (zip, age, gender, income) in exchange for content and advert categories I’ve tagged or brands I’ve approved (yes cars, no diabetes drugs; yes Starbucks, no McDonalds). I will share certain data sets in exchange for usage of a software application or faster delivery of premium entertainment. I’ll answer surveys and give quota data automatically in exchange for results (profile points) to enhance my value.

- A Conversation System where I tailor initial preferences, then a stochastic algorithm takes over to manage my general behavior and adjusts preferences. My system has hooks into other data and systems where I’m a subscriber or regular like eBay, Amazon, NY Times, Digg, delicious, Likeme, Live, webmail and corporate exchange servers. Imagine what this could do for search and search ads when I’m shopping. It will also spawn “pre-fetch” widgets for Web 2.0 personalized sites.

- A Negotiating Engine permits me to understand and value/monitize my behavior and clicks, as well as request/permit cueing of ads according to bid/ask systems like AdSense and Omniture. These ads may sit local in my cache and display on a page when certain tags are served. Monitization for me could be cash, barter, discounts, tickets/access, goods or services. Publishers and ad networks could be paid when the ad is locally served too and the pixel is sent to the Advertisers accounting server.

So, in this possible future, will Advertisers embrace these PRMs & Umaps? Will they recognize my uniqueness? Will they want to Ad Me?

Yes, because we will give them superior efficiency and less waste (green data?). Targeting will be far easier, more exact, and relevant to those people that announce that they care, are agreeable, or not overtly saying no.

Publishers should like the system too since they can optimize ad inventory and reduce inventory clutter (quality over volume, one perfect ad), thereby making the content king, again. Better yet, Publishers get another method for aggregating audiences who voluntarily supply data; they all lost the for registration battle but not the desire and understanding of its importance — so next gen audience gives it to them.

Not only will companies get a better understanding of “customer relationship management” but we the people will accept the responsibility to help out with “business relationship agreements.”

The conversation will be full circle.

Browser –to- server discussions will occur in the background to establish agreements and value my uniqueness while my screen gives me what I requested in a sharper focus. From a technical perspective, almost all the pieces exist today so technical heavy lifting is not necessary. In practice, this could take shape as a browser add-on, an internet app, apps with personal crawlers, agents & spyders, and live as something local to my desktop/phone or in the cloud.

Net, the future internet advertising models will reward my performance, participation and consumption. I will have tools to use which meters and exchanges value when I become an active participant in the conversation. Advertising will still be omnipresent, but delivered more often by invitation. Sellers and buyers still aggregate, but can segment in more meaningful ways.

Or not.

The internet may continue its slide downward toward becoming another tonnage media channel for delivery of video entertainment, and we all just continue to sling eyeballs. Ugh.



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