Why pseudonymization is not the silver bullet for GDPR.

Dr Johnny Ryan EU, Privacy, Regulation Leave a Comment

Pseudonymization will not save online advertising companies from having to seek consent to use browsing and other personal data. This note explains why. Personally identifiable data (PII) will become toxic in May 2018 when the General Data Protection Regulation is applied, unless data subjects have given consent.[1] Some businesses may try to rely on “pseudonymization”, a partial method of anonymization, to continue to use PII without consent. This would be a mistake, as the GDPR (and a previous opinion from the Article 29 Working Party[2]).…

PageFair statement at European Parliament ALDE shadow rapporteurs session on the proposed ePrivacy Regulation

Dr Johnny Ryan EU, Privacy, Regulation Leave a Comment

Lightly edited transcription of PageFair remarks at European Parliament ALDE session on 4 May 2017.  Dr Johnny Ryan: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be with you this afternoon. I’ve been on both sides: the adtech side, and the publisher’s side, of the particular part of this story that I want to talk about. Several years ago I was at The Irish Times as Chief Innovation Officer, and my background before that was academic: I wrote a history of the Internet, which is now a standard text. Now I work at PageFair, a European adtech company, based primarily in Dublin. I want to make clear that my remarks are limited only to the ePrivacy Regulation as it affects online advertising. There may be issues with other domains.…

DSP ‘contextual’ targeting offers solution to strict GDPR regulations

David Barton Ad Networks, Advertising 2.0 Leave a Comment

Programmatic online advertising will not cease to exist because of the GDPR or the proposed ePrivacy Directive. Personally-identifiable information (PII) may seem essential to digital advertising, but it is not the only way to target a relevant audience. Targeting based on context was a reliable method for decades before we came to rely on collecting and cross-referencing vast amounts of intrusive data.

Supporting new European data regulation

Dr Johnny Ryan Privacy, Regulation Leave a Comment

Unusually for an ad-tech company, PageFair supports the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. Here is why.  The European Commission has proposed new rules for ePrivacy, which will supplement the GDPR.[1] Unlike colleagues in other digital advertising companies, PageFair commends the proposed privacy protections for online advertising. Additional note (11 May 2017): our position concerns the proposal’s impact on online behavioural advertising (OBA). Though there are kinks to work out, as we note in our recent statement to Parliament representatives, we strongly endorse the proposal’s broad approach to OBA. PageFair has taken this position for two reasons. First, personal data are not required for online advertising.  The online advertising system can deliver relevant ads without the need to use personally identifiable information (PII), or third party cookies that collect PII.…

Adblock’s impact on website traffic

Dr Johnny Ryan Content, Reports Leave a Comment

This whitepaper, “The Hidden Cost of Adblock”, presents the primary findings of research by Professor Benjamin Shiller (Brandeis University), Professor Joel Waldfogel (University of Minnesota and the National Bureau of Economic Research), and Dr Johnny Ryan (PageFair). It reveals that adblock has a hidden cost: it not only reduces small and medium publishers’ revenue, it reduces their traffic too. Every 1% increase in adblocked web traffic produced a 0.67% decrease in site traffic for small and medium sites. Significant adblock usage by a website’s audience usually causes a temporary boost to its page traffic. This short term effect occurs because adblock users can enjoy the site without advertising. Over three years the majority of websites sites with high adblock rates saw their traffic levels significantly decrease relative to other websites.…

Eyeo’s Toothless Acceptable Ads Committee

David Barton Acceptable Advertising, AdBlock Leave a Comment

Eyeo, the owners of Adblock Plus, recently revealed an external “Acceptable Ads Committee” to legitimize its extortion of publishers. The committee has considerable powers to alter the “Acceptable Ad” standard, though the process for doing so is difficult. But this control is illusory. The rules that Eyeo has written for this committee mean that its members have no power.

PageFair endorses the initial standard of the Coalition for Better Ads

Dr Johnny Ryan Acceptable Advertising Leave a Comment

PageFair has endorsed the Coalition for Better Ads’ initial standard for better advertising. PageFair CEO, Sean Blanchfield, said: PageFair will align itself with your initial standard henceforth. I commit that PageFair shall serve only the most tolerable formats, per the Coalition rankings.
It is my hope that we will together improve the quality of advertising on the web, and thereby sustain the medium and the publishers that give it substance. Click here to read his letter  What ad formats are not permitted under the Coalition’s initial standard The Coalition’s research determined that the following formats are below its standard of acceptability and increase the likelihood that a user will install adblock.[1] Desktop Pop-up Ad (with or without countdown) Auto-playing Video Ad with Sound Prestitial Ad with Countdown Large Sticky Ad at the Bottom Mobile Pop-up Ad (with or without countdown) Prestitial Ad (with or without Countdown) Postitial Ad (with countdown) Ad Density Higher Than 30% (30% single column; 35% multicolumn; and 50% multicolumn) Flashing Animated Ad Auto-playing Video Ad with Sound Large Sticky Ad Full Screen Scrollover Ad   Research   The Coalition’s findings on which advertising formats prompt users to adopt adblocking echoes PageFair’s own work to understand adblock users’ tolerances for ad formats over several years.…

Scott Cunningham, IAB TechLab founder, on advertising in crisis (interview podcast) 

Dr Johnny Ryan Acceptable Advertising, AdBlock, EU, Regulation Leave a Comment

In 2015 Scott Cunningham, the founder of IAB TechLab, told world “we messed up” on behalf of the advertising industry. His was the first major industry mea culpa that began a shift toward addressing user problems with advertising on the web. When we spoke last week I challenged him about the IAB’s DEAL strategy on adblocking, which he devised, and which may lean too far toward recommending that all publishers restrict access to users. His response is worth reading, and makes clear that DEAL is not an all or nothing approach. Only a small number of publishers with very exclusive content may be able to sustain a strategy that blocks adblock users from visiting their content. Most can not. Scott shared the background to the IAB’s LEAN principles for more respectful, subdued advertising formats.…

Why the GDPR ‘legitimate interest’ provision will not save you

Dr Johnny Ryan Privacy, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The “legitimate interest” provision in the GDPR will not save behavioral advertising and data brokers from the challenge of obtaining consent for personally identifiable data. As previous PageFair analysis illustrates, personally identifiable data (PII) will become toxic except where it has been obtained and used with consent once the General Data Protection Regulation is applied in May 2018. Even so, many advertising intermediaries believe that they can continue to use PII data without consent because of an apparent carve-out related to “legitimate interest” contained in the GDPR. This is a false hope.