Half of all advertising dollars are wasted. We just don’t know which half.
That’s a common view from people purchasing advertising, and it’s why I expect that this saying is what has led to complaints from Google, Facebook, and other large firms that track people across different sites and apps. They have built frameworks that make it easy to add metrics to other software and derive advertising revenue for a vendor. As a result, many people building mobile apps use some framework from a large vendor.
Apple has been fighting back a bit. I don’t know Apple is terribly altruistic here, but I do think their changes to implement some privacy controls for users are good. The article linked here talks about some of their recent changes in iOS and the complaints from vendors. There are also some notes about the way this impacts everyone.
There is an Apple white paper about why Apple is changing, and its story is a bit disturbing, showing how a few common daily actions result in data being tracked. It certainly is something I know happens as I’ll see ads for Redgate products on a volleyball site or ads for the bike in which I was interested on a technical database article. It’s annoying and frustrating. I get the idea of making many advertising impressions to influence me, but it’s also distracting when I’m doing something unrelated. Maybe more annoying is that once I buy something, I’m no longer interested, but I still see the ads.
I don’t mind a company tracking me on their site and showing me something that is possibly related to what I am doing. I do mind having apps do this across apps, and companies aggregating and selling this data. I know this has happened for years, but the scale of today is more problematic. For me, this truly is an issue that needs to be addressed with more control and respect for the human rather than the organization.
I loved my iOS devices for years, until they removed the headphone jack. I switched the Android, and I’ve been happy, but now I’m in the same situation as the last few Android phones don’t have headphone jacks. I like the choice I get, but that freedom comes with a price in this space. I’m not sure I see Google, or really most manufacturers using Android, making a good choice here for humans. I’m not sure Apple is a lot better, but this is a little better.
I’d like to see more platforms open, but with also some accountability and responsibility from vendors that doesn’t just make the customer the product. Instead, let the customer choose what data to allow, and then you can adjust prices accordingly. If someone wants to give up all their information for less cost, fine.
However, let me also choose privacy if the value is there for me. I’ll happily pay for it in many places.