I’ve been saying for years that the soul of the disruption gutting the business model of traditional media and marketing is the people formerly known as the audience. None of this makes any sense without that basic assumption. As I tell groups in presentations, it’s all about people:
- Informed people — never has there been a time when so much information was at the end of our finger tips.
- Empowered people — if information is power, then guess what? These people are ripping power from institutions who were never designed to deal with a truly empowered citizenry.
- Enabled people — not only do people have more information and more power, but technology is also enabling them to do something about it.
- Connected people — connected in ways we never dreamed possible in years gone by, in the days of one-to-many media.
- Involved people — and potentially involved on a level that history has never seen. Technology is enabling this. It’s getting more powerful and easier to use all the time.
- Fleeing people — that’s right, and they’re running from the relentless bombardment of unwanted messages provided by mass marketing in all its iterations.
Now comes new evidence of this in the form of privacy groups banding together to create a “Do Not Target” list for people who’d rather not participate in the Holy Grail of web advertising — behavioral targeting. Here’s the lead sentence from PC World:
A coalition of nine privacy and consumer groups have proposed a U.S. do-not-track list that would allow consumers to opt out of advertising efforts that track their movements online.
…The do-not-track list, similar in some ways to a do-not-call telemarketing list maintained by the FTC, would allow consumers to take control of their personal information online, Cooper (Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America) said. While they would originally have to download the list and manually enter sites to block into security software, the privacy coalition expects that browser developers would create tools to automate that process, he said.
“This is a single step for consumers, and this is completely needed,” said Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum.
Such a list would not be good news for advertising companies. Dave Morgan of Tacoda told Advertising Age that such a list would actually defeat the idea of anonymity that the Web boasts.
“It runs into the core issue of, we don’t want to take the anonymity away. This isn’t a consumer-led revolution like do-not-call was. … This is an advocate looking for a cause issue,
That may well be the case, and this is just a proposal for now, but this business with Facebook wanting to use private profile data to target members when they’re not on Facebook puts a big weapon in the hands of these consumer groups.
Nothing will ever be enough for those being disrupted, and that’s becoming increasingly evident as we watch various companies respond to decay in their business model. What needs to happen is that the media and advertising worlds have to start paying attention to the people who are running away from them.
How about talking with the targets instead of trying to hit them?