Is Do Not Track Something to Worry About?

This past Wednesday, the FTC released a report stating that they were behind a “Do Not Track” program that would automatically stop all ad tracking unless the consumer opted in. The consensus from the government is that advertisers aren’t doing enough to assure consumer privacy, so they’re being forced to step in.

As of this morning, a dozen plus blogs and news outlets have chimed in on the topic discussing everything from the possibility of it becoming a reality and who will be hurt if it happens.

Multichannel news covered a Time Warner media VP’s appearance before the subcommittee on Thursday. Joan Gillman’s point was that “Do Not Track” would interfere with the “vibrancy” of the internet in that it would restrict a company’s ability to be marketing innovators.

Gowalla Upgrade Adds Foursquare and Facebook

Location-based check-in services aren’t as big as they appear to be from the hype, but still, companies are clamoring to take over the space. Foursquare has been the high-profile leader for awhile but there are folks that prefer Gowalla’s interface and then there are those who don’t leave Facebook for anything. That’s why Gowalla has decided to run with the old adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Gowalla’s latest update allows the user to see the check-in updates of their friends, even if they’re using rivals Foursquare, Facebook, even Twitter and Tumblr.

Josh Williams, CEO of Gowalla had this to say about the decision:

Newspaper Ad Decline Slows, But There’s No Reason to Celebrate

When the news is as bad as it’s been for newspaper advertising, any small ray of hope is welcome, like the slight decline in the decline. The Newspaper Association of America has tallied up the numbers for Q3 and came up with a decline in ad dollars of 5.39%. That’s the smallest decline papers have seen since 2007 but is that a reason to celebrate? Not really.

When you look at the complete grid showing the history of newspaper ad dollars, both online and print, it’s still a pretty dismal picture. The actual combined dollars for last year is listed as $27,564 million. The last time dollars were that low was in 1987. Factor in the lack of online dollars and inflation and that’s a horrendous image. From there, the numbers rise steadily, hitting $49 million in 2005 and it drops like the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve from then until now.

eBay Buys Local Shopping Site

eBay took another step today toward becoming and away from the collectibles auction site we all fell for more than ten years ago when they bought, a website that locates in-stock merchandise on the local level.

According to Business Insider, eBay payed $75 million for the company and they seem to think it’s a good buy. It may be because, as we all know,  when it comes to deals and shopping, local is everything these days. Local isn’t even a buzzword anymore, it’s a god marketers must bow down to every morning and I don’t like it.

Advertising on iPad: Clean and Simple is Key

Appearing at Advertising Age’s Media Evolved Conference today, UM and Time Inc, presented their results of a biometric study on iPad advertising.

In order to test the effectivness of different types of advertising,  EmSense hooked 180 iPad owners up to an EEG and eye tracking software then exposed them to ads embedded in different Time Inc. publications on iPad.  The system allowed them to track not only visual and motor response to the ads but the emotional response as well.

Says Elissa Moses, Chief Analytics Officer for EmSense;

“The combination of EmSense Neurometrics and mobile eye tracking enabled us to learn about the iPad users’ visceral experience as they navigated through magazines swiping, button pressing, and enjoying the ride.  We learned that iPad advertising can be highly engaging and gained great insight on how advertisers can best leverage this new media.”

FTC Online Privacy Report Endorses Do Not Track

The FTC issued a report today that outlines their plan to deal with privacy issues on the internet. Even though online advertisers are working on a self-policing program,it looks like the federal government is going to have their say and their say trumps anything from the private sector.

The report states that industry efforts have been “too slow, and up to now have failed to provide adequate and meaningful protection.” The FTC says that current privacy policies, which are long and full of legalize, are confusing to consumers if they can find the policy and they take the time to read it. The report wants to shift the responsibility away from the consumer and on to the advertisers. They call it “privacy by design,” suggesting that companies build “privacy protections into their everyday business practices.”

Facebook Drops Contest Pre-Approval, Hooray Says SMBs

Contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, promotions — what ever you call them, offering consumers a chance at a prize has always been an excellent way for small business to acquire email addresses and drive traffic to their sites. But not on Facebook. Up until now, Facebook insisted on pre-approving all on-site promos and restricted access to only those spending more than $10,000 on advertising.

Facebook said this was necessary to protect themselves in case of a law suit but apparently they are no longer afraid because the restriction is about to be lifted.

According to Inside Facebook, the social media site is removing the pre-approval and financial commitment, thereby opening up the contest option to anyone running a fan page.